Jan 30, 2023 - News

Richmond loves big trucks

Data: S&P Global Mobility; Chart: Axios Visuals

Pickup trucks are getting bigger and heavier, and their popularity is soaring in Virginia.

Driving the news: Four of Richmond's 10 bestselling vehicles last year were pickup trucks, according to vehicle registration data from January through November 2022 by S&P Global Mobility.

  • And it's not just pickups. Statewide, the "light truck" market — which includes pickups, SUVs and vans — accounted for more than 70% of all vehicles registered in 2022, according to Virginia Automobile Dealers Association figures.

The big picture: In the 1980s, about half of pickup trucks were categorized as small or midsize.

  • But by the 2010s, small pickups had nearly vanished as more Americans bought into the big truck lifestyle — and increasingly used them less for hauling and towing and more often for errands and leisure drivers, per a new Axios Visuals special project.
Graphic: Will Chase/Axios

Why it matters: Road safety advocates say today's massive trucks are a bigger hazard to pedestrians and other drivers given their size, weight and driver blind spots.

  • Plus, the tall front of a truck strikes pedestrians in the torso or head — home to vital organs — whereas, the lower hoods of cars typically strike pedestrians in the legs.

Go deeper: See the project.

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