These States Are the Biggest Fans of Four-Wheel-Drive, By the Numbers

Surprisingly, not a single southern state even makes it into the top 10.

byJames Gilboy|
These States Are the Biggest Fans of Four-Wheel-Drive, By the Numbers

"What combination of driven wheels is most popular in my state?" is a question that nobody but a marketing professional has ever asked, but now that automotive market researcher iSeeCars has answered it, you can't help but be a little curious which locales like what.

The firm analyzed a dataset of 11 million vehicles registered across the United States with the intent of figuring out where all-wheel and four-wheel-drive (AWD/4WD) are proportionally most popular. Of course, to complete its data set, iSeeCars also had to determine the popularity of competing two-wheel drive configurations, and it gave The Drive its analysis of these drivetrains as well. But let's start with the study's original subject: combined popularity of AWD or 4WD by state, ranked below by the percentage of registered vehicles which use these drive types.

  1. 71.8: Montana
  2. 70.9: Alaska
  3. 70.1: Wyoming
  4. 67.8: North Dakota
  5. 67.8: Vermont
  6. 66.1: South Dakota
  7. 65.7: West Virginia
  8. 65.7: Maine
  9. 64.7: Colorado
  10. 63.4: Idaho

There are two trends most obvious among this group of states: they tend to have some mountainous terrain and are likely to see snow in their colder months. In seven of these 10 states, 4WD is more popular than AWD, with only ecologically conscious Vermont, Maine, and Colorado preferring the relatively light-duty latter.

States where two-wheel drive is popular tend to be flat, and rarely if ever see freezing temperatures, but from here it is hard to predict the proportion of front-drive to rear-drive (FWD/RWD) vehicles. Economy cars trend toward the former, and premium models to the latter, though a state's economic health shows little correlation with what drive type is most preferred there. A total of 54.8 percent of vehicles on the roads in wealthy California are FWD, whereas Louisiana—ranked one of the nation's unhealthiest economies by USA Today in 2018—operates RWD vehicles at a higher rate than any other state, at 28.1 percent. It is rivaled only by Texas, where 26.2 percent of vehicles are RWD.

Though not a state, Washington D.C.'s data was also tracked, and the District showed America's highest affinity for front-drive cars at 59.2 percent, and some of the lowest for rear-drive, at 11.5 percent.

Full results for the study can be found here. Where does your state lie, and are you proud of your fellow Americans' preferences? Let us know in the comments.