Which States Prefer Two-Wheel Drive Vehicles?

By Julie Blackley

Just as climate and terrain vary with a driver’s geographic location, so can a person’s preferred drive type. While drivers in regions with mountainous terrain and above-average snowfall are more likely to have SUVs and trucks with four- and all-wheel drive, drivers in more mild climates prefer two-wheel drive vehicles. 

iSeeCars analyzed over 11 million vehicles to determine which states have the most front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive vehicles on the road.

Overview of Drive Types

There are four main drive types: front-wheel drive (FWD), rear-wheel drive (RWD), four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD). While FWD vehicles are predominantly passenger cars, RWD may be found in pickups and is common in performance-oriented sports cars and sedans. Meanwhile, 4WD systems are mainly in rugged trucks and truck-based SUVs, and AWD is commonly used in car-based SUVs, cars, and minivans.

As the name suggests, FWD means that the power from the engine is delivered to the front two wheels. These vehicles tend to be more fuel-efficient and can better handle the snow than RWD vehicles.

Meanwhile, an RWD vehicle’s rear wheels receive the power from the engine. As a result, the front wheels are able to freely move the vehicle. While RWD cars are inherently more fun to drive than FWD vehicles, they don’t handle as well in poor weather conditions.

States With the Most Two-Wheel Drive Vehicles

Not surprisingly, the states where 2WD vehicles comprise the highest share of vehicles on the road are generally in the southern part of the United States with mild climates.

iSeeCars States With the Most 2WD Vehicles
Rank State % 2WD Vehicles
1 Florida 79.9%
1 Hawaii 79.9%
3 Louisiana 77.8%
4 California 77.0%
5 Mississippi 75.2%
6 Alabama 74.9%
7 Texas 74.4%
8 Georgia 74.2%
9 Arizona 73.5%
10 South Carolina 73.2%
 

Florida and Hawaii tie for the top spot as the states with the most two-wheel drive vehicles, which comprise nearly 80 percent of the vehicles on the road in both states. “Both states are known for their tropical climates, so drivers don’t need vehicles that are able to perform in harsh weather conditions,” said Ly. 

Breakdown of FWD Vs. RWD

iSeeCars further analyzed the data to break down the percentages of FWD versus RWD vehicles among the states where these combined drive types are the most popular.

Breakdown of FWD Vs. RWD
Rank State FWD RWD
1 Florida 56.7% 23.2%
1 Hawaii 56.5% 23.4%
3 Louisiana 49.7% 28.1%
4 California 54.8% 22.2%
5 Mississippi 52.7% 22.9%
6 Alabama 48.7% 22.5%
7 Texas 51.5% 26.2%
8 Georgia 51.6% 22.6%
9 Arizona 52.7% 20.8%
10 South Carolina 52.6% 20.6%
 

Among these states with tropical and mild climates, all states prefer FWD vehicles. “This suggests that drivers in these states are most likely to opt for passenger cars or crossovers without the all-wheel-drive option,” said Ly. 

Louisiana and Texas are the states with the most RWD vehicles nationally. “This suggests that these drivers are most likely to drive trucks or sports cars,” said Ly.

Methodology

iSeeCars.com analyzed over 11 million vehicles in the 50 US states and the District of Columbia between January and August of 2019. The drive type of each car was tabulated to calculate the share of each drive type within each state.

About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com is a car search engine that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check report. iSeeCars.com has saved users over $194 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of cars and thousands of dealers. Based in the Boston area, iSeeCars.com was founded by TripAdvisor and SAP veterans determined to improve the car shopping experience for consumers.