What Your Car Color Reveals About Your Psyche

The color of your car hints at how confident—and moody—you are.


With gas prices nearing $4 per gallon, are there any cheerful drivers left on the road?

Well, if there are, chances are they're driving a green car.

People who own emerald green automobiles, it turns out, have the most positive attitude about the course of their own lives. Dark blue and silver are other colors chosen by upbeat people.

Red supposedly connotes an aggressive, high-speed personality, while yellow, theoretically, is for folks with sunny dispositions. But survey data show that people who drive red or yellow cars have below-average confidence. And black cars, supposedly a sign of power and elegance, are driven by the most downbeat drivers of all.

The automotive color-coding comes from CNW Marketing Research in Bandon, Ore., which asked nearly 1,900 Americans about their attitudes toward their own lives at several points over the course of a year. CNW also asked each respondent the color of the car they drive most often, which allowed the researchers to develop a kind of color-confidence index. According to CNW, here's what the color of a car says about the person who bought it:

People whose car is: Have confidence that is:
Emerald green 5.5% above average
Dark blue 3.2% above average
Silver 1.2% above average
White Average
Sunny yellow 3.7% below average
Orange 4.1% below average
Bright blue 5.5% below average
Bright yellow 8.3% below average
Red 8.8 % below average
Black 14.6% below average

Since the folks at CNW got a range of answers for each respondent over time, they were also able to calculate the "moodiness" of drivers—how widely their confidence varied from one extreme to the other, in the course of a year. Sedate colors, not surprisingly, correlate with consistent moods. But if a primary color suddenly fills your rear-view mirror—well, it's probably best to get out of the way:

People whose car is: Experience:
Black, dark blue,
or silver
Consistent moods
White, sunny yellow,
or bright blue
Modest mood swings
Orange, red, bright
yellow, or
emerald green
The most pronounced mood swings

There are better clinical indicators of mental health, needless to say, but Art Spinella of CNW says car color can be a useful "people-matching" tool. "Your accountant should drive something silver," he advises. And odds are pretty good that he does: Silver, white, and black—more stable hues—are the most common car colors, according to DuPont, which publishes an annual color popularity report. More moody colors account for about 17 percent of cars. If only they had their own roads.

mental health
  • Rick Newman

    Rick Newman is the author of Rebounders: How Winners Pivot From Setback to Success and the co-author of two other books. Follow him on Twitter or e-mail him at rnewman@usnews.com.

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