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The Cars We Drive Are Older Than Ever–and That’s Great


The average car on the road is now 14 years old, and light trucks average 11.9 years. Combined, the average vehicle age is 12.6 years, the highest on record, up two months since 2023. This trend is primarily due to the high cost of new cars, with the average transaction price now over $45,000, down slightly from the 2022 record high of $47,000 but still significantly higher than the pre-pandemic average of $33,695.

Several factors contribute to this increase in vehicle age. Drivers are keeping their cars longer, and more buyers are opting for older used vehicles. Modern cars’ improved longevity also plays a role; whereas reaching 100,000 miles was once a significant milestone, today’s vehicles have an 11.8% chance of hitting 250,000 miles, with full-frame trucks and SUVs having a 40% chance.

Maintaining older, more efficient cars longer benefits the environment. Manufacturing a new sedan produces six metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, so extending the life of a vehicle reduces the need for new production and associated emissions. This trend is also beneficial for small businesses, particularly repair shops. S&P Global Mobility, which has tracked vehicle ages since 2012, notes that the average vehicle age exceeded 12 years in 2021 and continues to rise. Todd Campau, aftermarket practice lead at S&P Global Mobility, states that the growing average age means more vehicles are in the prime range for aftermarket service, typically between six and 14 years old.

Instead of spending on new cars, drivers are investing in maintenance and repairs, supporting local mechanics and contributing positively to the environment and the economy. The increasing age of vehicles on the road reflects a practical response to rising costs and highlights the durability and efficiency of modern cars.
Motor Authority
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