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Average Age of US Cars Hits Record 12.2 Years in Fifth Straight Annual Increase


Cars on US roads are as old as they’ve ever been, potentially complicating efforts to expand using recent safety and emissions-reduction technologies.

The age of sunshine vehicles domestically is now 12.2 years on average, up almost two months from last 12 months’s figure, based on S&P Global Mobility. That’s a record high and marks the fifth straight 12 months of increases.

Analysts at the info provider pointed to the worldwide microchip shortage, supply-chain snags and inventory challenges – all of which likely kept drivers of their old cars longer. The rising cost of recent vehicles – $46,526 last month, based on Kelley Blue Book – was one other deterrent for prospective buyers.

The mixture could put a damper on manufacturers’ efforts to introduce newer safety technologies and to spur faster adoption of more fuel-efficient hybrid and electric vehicles.

“Every part goes to be delayed relating to MPGs because recent vehicles are selling at a lower rate than expected,” Todd Campau, associate director of aftermarket solutions at S&P Global Mobility, said in an interview.

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Carmakers sold over 15 million recent cars within the US in 2021, based on Cox Automotive data. EVs made up just over 3% of the full, with hybrids accounting for one more 6.4%.

Campau said along with getting older, US cars are facing more wear and tear as overall driving levels have bounced back from lows firstly of the Covid-19 pandemic. The group said the vehicles averaged 12,300 miles in 2021, up greater than 10% from the prior 12 months.

“Coupled with increasing average age, strong average vehicle miles traveled points to the potential for a notable increase in repair revenue in the approaching 12 months,” Campau said.



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