01 Jul The average car is about 12 years old
Older cars and a whole lot more of them.
That’s the news anyway from a recent study by business data firm IHS Markit, which estimates a total of 278 million cars on U.S. roads with an average age of 11.8 years. For the sake of comparison, the total population of the U.S. is about 330 million, which means there’s a car out there for every four out of five Americans. What’s more, if our cars were people, they’d be the fourth-most populous country in the world — coming right after the U.S.
However you slice it, we have a record number of cars driving, sitting and rusting around this great country, so if it feels like you’re seeing more on your morning commute, it’s probably because you are. But even as we’re getting more cars on the street, the average age of these vehicles is ticking upward, continuing a slow creep that’s been going on since the Great Recession.
Part of that is purely economical. The recession was a major shock to many American households, and the prospect of spending good money on a new vehicle can be a little scary, especially when we’re already holding an eye-popping $13.5 trillion in household debt. There’s a silver-lining to this though as the average vehicle, while older, is also more capable than the auto of past generations. We’re talking a much higher potential mileage, better fuel efficiency and superior safety features, all working together to give us more bang for our buck. While upgrading to a newer vehicle will still keep drivers racing into the future, they’re less likely to miss out on savings with these later model cars and trucks.
Interestingly enough, the report also found plenty of geographical nuance in the average age of a vehicle, with the American West racking up the most road years. The average car or truck out here is 12.4 years old, a stat we might attribute to milder climate, relatively high density in major cities and reduced wear-and-tear due to road salts and other corrosive substances found in places with harsher winters.
Of course, even in the somewhat-gentle climes of Oregon, we still need to put in some work to give our vehicles a long, healthy life. From our $1 Mondays to our expanded wash bays, Scrubby’s is here to make that easier than ever. Whether your ride is new or old, come on by for great value!