The Average American Car Is Still 11.4 Years Old



IHS Automotive reports that the average American car is now about 11.4 years old, the same as last year. But what does that mean, exactly?

It means that, despite strong new car sales, there are a lot of really old cars out there on America’s highways and byways pulling the average age down. In fact, if new car sales were not rising, that average would have dropped to the lowest point since IHS Automotive started tracking the data.

On the positive side, it also means that today’s cars are far more dependable and reliable than ever. It was not that long ago that a 5 year old car was considered ancient and in dire need of replacement. Once many people would not trust a car that had more than 50,000 miles on the odometer, but today most cars can go 200,000 miles or more easily with just routine maintenance.

Mark Seng, director of aftermarket solutions at IHS Automotive said;

“In our history of tracking, we have seen a gradual increase in the average age of vehicles on the road. This year, we’re seeing somewhat of a plateau in the market, and expect it to remain over the next few years.”

So how can Americans be buying more new cars but the average age of all cars on the road is still over 11 years? Simple. There are now more cars on the road.  IHS Automotive says there were 252.7 million light vehicles on the road as of January 1, 2014. That’s up 3.7 million or 1.5% from the previous year. Quite simply, people are holding onto their cars longer than ever.

How many of you own a car that is more than 11 years old? I do, but it’s a Miata that only gets driven on sunny days. Tell us about your old car in the comments section below.


Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.