Remember the sedan? Two decades ago, they “used to rule the road,” says Ivan Drury, director of insights at Edmunds. Every highway and byway, it seemed, were filled with Ford Tauruses, Toyota Camrys, and Honda Civics. In the mid-2000s, though, larger cars began to take over. Trucks. SUVs. Crossover vehicles. By 2021, eight of the top ten most popular cars were SUVs or trucks. Experts propose various theories for the ascent of SUVs, from low gas prices to the perceived benefits of added cargo space and functionality. Ford has even given up manufacturing sedans, and large organizations like the NYPD are replacing all of theirs with SUVs.
But there’s still one group of drivers that love sedans — those who drive with Lyft. In fact, sedans represent nine of the top ten vehicles used by Lyft drivers (determined by their percentage of the total miles for all vehicle types driven on the Lyft platform). The Camry is the most popular, but old chestnuts like the Altima, Sentra, and Elantra all make an appearance on the list as well.
One major reason is fuel economy. The average rideshare driver drives 140 to 200 miles per day, while the average American only clocks approximately 35.
And while most of us follow predictable routes to and from work — sometimes shuttling kids, gear, and groceries — a rideshare driver needs to be ready to go anywhere. They can’t predict when they’ll be in proximity to a gas station. Fuel economy provides that flexibility.
"Drivers who use Lyft overwhelmingly prefer sedans, which makes sense, given the fact that they get better gas mileage,” says Britt Mott, Lyft’s Head of Driver Education, Success and Product Operations.
It also, of course, keeps costs down. The typical SUV averages 29 miles per gallon of combined city-highway driving, while a sedan like the Toyota Camry gets 32 mpg. That extra three miles of range may not sound like much, but it adds up quickly, equating to about an extra 33.8 gallons of fuel per year for the rideshare driver who only takes customers one day per week — around $135 extra in cost if gas is $4 per gallon. (It’s probably not a coincidence that the only SUV on Lyft’s top ten list, the RAV4, outperforms the average SUV by two mpg.)
Lyft’s list is sure to change in the coming years. The company has committed to reach all-electric vehicles on its platform by 2030, and that means drivers on the platform will be choosing their future rides based on available EV models. If you look at any list of near-future EVs, you’ll notice that the shift toward SUVs and truck-like vehicles continues, which means sedans may start disappearing from the rideshare world as well. If that makes you nostalgic, fire up your app right now and hail a ride. Chances are, someone will roll up in a Toyota Camry in a few minutes.
Edmunds’ top ten most popular cars in the U.S. (determined by vehicle registration):
Lyft’s top ten vehicles (percentage of total miles driven by vehicles on the Lyft platform):
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