What Does Your District Drive?

The folks at the National Auto Dealers Association have come up with a neat little web widget for the car curious. You can now use their database to find out what kind of cars you friends and neighbors (and nearby enemies) are driving. They’ve divided state car registration data by congressional district, and broken it out in two ways. First they count the share of people driving light trucks (SUVs, vans, minivans and pick-ups) vs. “regular” cars, and then break down the light truck section into its four components. The geographical comparisons make for some interesting reading.

With this information, you can figure out if a certain part of the country is a hybrid heaven where SUVs are an endangered species, a rootin’ tootin’ pick-up truck lovin’ rural paradise, or an Escalade Elysium where worries about fuel costs are waved away like an unsightly hobo.

For example: in the at-large congressional district that’s known as Wyoming, only 27% of passenger vehicles are actually cars – light trucks dominate with a 73% share, and of those, 61% are pick-ups. The Cowboy State thus lives up to its reputation. Things are very different, as one might expect, down in the Bay Area. In the 12th district of California – where Democrat Tom Lantos was recently returned to Washington with 76.1% of the vote – only 37% of people own any kind of light truck. But, among those who do, 65% own SUVs and only 13% own pick-ups.

Things get even more interesting when we move eastward into the big city. In New York’s 8th district, presided over by a recently slimmed-down Jerry Nadler, the split between car and light truck ownership is a perfect 50-50. But the district, which comprises most of the West Side of Manhattan and a chunk of southern Brooklyn, is decidedly lopsided when it comes time to break out the light truck category. These New Yorkers are almost twelve times more likely to cruise in an SUV (69%) as to trundle along in a humble pick-up (6%).

Unfortunatly, NADA doesn’t seem to have any data on which congressional district has the best hydraulics or biggest spinnaz.