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

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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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