We are living in a golden age of automobiles, with car makers across the globe churning out some of the best vehicles ever built. I know that’s a bold statement, but the proof is all around us, with electric vehicles, high-tech hybrids, and fuel-sipping conventional cars selling in spades. But the most convincing argument is the ever-increasing age of the average American car.
The Detroit Free Press reports that the average American car clocks in at 11.4 years old, a testament both to the longevity of modern cars, and the increasing wealth gap between rich and poor. Even though the new car market seems to be surging with renewed vigor in 2013, the fact is many Americans can’t afford to upgrade, or even replacing their aging automobiles.
How bad is it? Well apparently car scrappage is down some 50% since the recession took hold, which means there are a lot of cars that belong in the scrap heap still on the road. So even though new car sales are themselves up some 50%, it doesn’t make up for the fact that most Americans are driving older and older cars. As recently as 2007, the average car age was less than 10 years.
It’s a disturbing economic trend, albeit one with a silver lining. Modern cars are lasting longer, which means the resources and energy allocated to their construction are going a lot further. And if you own a garage or service center, then you can be confident knowing you’ll have plenty of customers for many years to come.