Census figures have highlighted a massive growth in car usage in recent years. Four out of every five households had at least one car in 2006.

Car ownership levels were higher in rural areas (88.6%) than in urban areas (75.2%).  Meath had the highest level of ownership at 89.8%, while Dublin City was lowest at 59.5%.

The figures show that 57% of all workers went to work by car last year, up from 55% four years earlier. When combined with those who drove vans or trucks, the figure rose to 65%, representing an extra 225,000 work-related car users from 2002.

More than half of all primary schoolchildren are now driven to school (55%), a huge increase from 27.7% in 1991. 

That is reflected by the number of schoolchildren who walk to school, during the same period, that number slumped from 39.4% to 24.3%.