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Americans with older cars: Average car age hits new record

A new study from S&P Global Mobility revealed that the average age of passenger vehicles is 14 years.

Vehículos Privados

Vehículos Privados

The country's highways have always been characterized by the large number of new cars that drive on them. Purchasing a relatively new model from the current year was, until some time ago, something that many Americans could afford. However, in 2024, due in part to the poor economic situation, the average age of cars broke a new record: 14 years old.

A study by automotive industry consultancy S&P Global Mobility revealed that all "vehicles on the road are getting even older":

The average age of cars and light trucks in the U.S. has risen again to a new record of 12.6 years in 2024, an increase of two months from 2023.

Vehicle registration data throughout the country shows that the average age of a car today is 14 years old. In the light truck category, the average age is 11.9 years, and the average for all vehicles is 12.6 years.

Higher prices and rejection of electric vehicles

Study authors Nishant Parekh and Todd Campau noted that the high aging figure is the result of a bad combination between the high prices of new vehicles and the refusal of many drivers to buy electric vehicles.

New vehicle prices remain higher for many consumers in the U.S., with the average transaction price reported at $47,218 in March 2024 ... Additionally, inflation is proving to be more persistent than expected and there are concerns about the switch to electric vehicles. A combination of these factors has resulted in consumers keeping their vehicles on the road longer, increasing the average age.

According to the study, this trend affects used car dealers, as it decreases their sales. Cars.com claims to be "on the cusp of a used car shortage." They assure that "the national supply of used vehicles in January was 4% lower" than in January 2023:

There are approximately 800,000 fewer used cars to choose from now, with an average list price of $28,859. That average price may be down 2.9%, but it's still 36% higher than it was in January 2019. Unfortunately, it looks like it will take a few years to get back to regular inventory levels with lower prices.

Forecasts: In a few years, it will be worse

According to the study, by 2028, it is expected that the percentage of vehicles that are between 6 and 14 years old circulating on the country's highways and streets will be 12% higher compared to 2020. "These vehicles may be in their second or third owner." Likewise, vehicles "more than 15 years old will grow at a similar rate over the same period of time."