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Given the explosive growth of the passenger vehicle market and energy demands in China, research on vehicle-use intensity and driver-travel patterns is critical for better assessing travel demand and its implications for alternative fuel vehicles, energy security, and environmental policies. This study attempts to estimate annual vehicle kilometers traveled (AVKT) per privately-owned passenger vehicle and their daily distance patterns by vehicle class and geographic region. The data sample from a survey consists of 169,292 privately owned passenger vehicles, made by 177 car manufacturers during 2003–2018, running in 82 cities from 27 provincial regions. The log-transformed average AVKT is estimated to be 12,377 km with 95% probability ranging from 5490 to 28,579 km. The investigation reveals that vehicles from South China have the highest AVKT at 13,320 km. Generally, vehicles in small cities have higher AVKT than in big cities, except AVKT of tier 1 cities being higher. Another trend is that more expensive or larger vehicles tend to be driven more. A model is fitted for estimating AVKT based on region, city type, automaker, price range, and certain vehicle features including class and age. Data of daily commuting distances in recent years are also analyzed. The average daily commuting distances typically range from 21 to 28 km. Using the validated Gamma distribution method, daily distance distributions are specified for different regions. It is found that 99% of the daily driving distance is no more than 88.0–112.0 km, depending on region. Utility factors of plug-in electric vehicles are also estimated to be much higher than those based on driving data in the USA. These findings suggest global mitigations strategies on vehicle fuel use, electrification, and greenhouse gases should consider vehicle-use intensity at the regional level.