In 2022, Americans traveled the furthest distance in vehicles powered by diesel fuel compared to other fuel types.

There’s a lively debate right now around consumers’ desire to own and drive EVs, but data from the federal government shows that diesel reigns supreme when it comes to annual average miles driven. Energy.gov recently published the 2022 National Household Travel Survey, which found that diesel miles dwarf gas and electric vehicles. And if that weren’t surprising enough, the second-most-driven fuel type will be.

Diesel vehicles averaged 17,500 miles in 2022, while gas and electric only managed 14,100 and 12,400 miles, respectively. The annual average for plug-in hybrids was just over 16,000 miles, making them the second-most driven vehicles that year. Traditional hybrids saw around 15,000 miles driven.

It’s important to point out that we’re talking about household miles driven, not commercial miles, so these averages don’t include large trucks and similar vehicles. That suggests a large number of diesel pickup trucks, as Americans haven’t really ever been hot on diesel cars, especially after VW’s Dieselgate scandal.

This study is also from two years ago when EVs weren’t quite as common as they are in early 2024. Cox Automotive noted that the EV market share of the U.S. vehicle market was just 5.9 percent in 2022. It rose to 7.6 percent last year and will likely grow further in 2024, but sales didn’t crest 1 million units until 2023.

Plug-in hybrids are the real shocker here, as EVs have outpaced their sales for a decade. There’s also a decent amount of anecdotal data that Americans don’t take full advantage of their PHEVs, using them more without charging them than using their modest electric range. Jeep has sold a ton of Wrangler 4xe PHEVs since it debuted in 2021, so it’s possible they’re propping up the miles numbers a bit.

That said, the government’s data doesn’t define how the miles are driven and only breaks them down by fuel type, so there’s no way to guess if any of them were traveled on battery power alone.

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