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Average Age Of Vehicles On American Roads Hits New Record

Key Takeaways

  • The average age of US vehicles was up 2 months from 2023.
  • That set a new record age of 12.6 years for cars and light trucks.
  • New registrations are improving, so the rise in the rate should slow.

Vehicles on US roads are getting older according to a new report from S&P Global Mobility, with the average age of cars and trucks rising to 12.6 years old in 2024, up two months over 2023. This trend has continued for the last six years and was exacerbated by new vehicle inventories taking a massive hit during the pandemic, but it finally looks like we’re coming out the other end of the tunnel as new vehicle registrations are increasing.

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What’s more interesting, is, the company believes that due to the rise in light truck/utility sales, the US passenger car population will fall beneath 100 million for the first time since 1978, powered by consumer tastes and automakers’ preferences towards higher-profit vehicles.

US Vehicle Age 2024
S&P Global Mobility

Keep That Older Car

You shouldn’t feel too bad about sticking with your decade-old Toyota RAV4, but as interest rates may soon fall, it could be a great time to jump on a new vehicle. Dealers and automakers are currently sitting on inventory for the first time in years, cutting prices and increasing incentives to move models off of the lot as their new vehicles are set to arrive later this year.

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Additionally, S&P sees the aftermarket industry growing even further, whether that be parts suppliers or repair shops. “With average age growth, more vehicles are entering the prime range for aftermarket service, typically from 6 to 14 years of age,” said Todd Campau, aftermarket practice lead at S&P Global Mobility. “With more than 110 million vehicles in that sweet spot — reflecting nearly 38 percent of the fleet on the road — we expect continued growth in the volume of vehicles in that age range to rise to an estimated 40 percent through 2028.”

Chevy Spark Driving
Chevrolet

Trucks Are Taking Over

Since 2020, more than 27 million passenger cars have been scrapped or destroyed, and just over 13 million passenger vehicles have replaced them. Conversely, 26 million light trucks were scrapped, and a whopping 45 million have replaced them. The US fleet is now up to 286 million vehicles. The light-duty truck domination is real, and it isn’t slowing down anytime soon with the introduction of smaller trucks back into the market like the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz.

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To a lesser extent, EVs have also seen growth, with 2023 registrations surpassing one million vehicles for the first time. 3.2 million EVs are now on the road, and we get the feeling that even with a cooling in the EV market, that number is still going to increase this year.

Ford Ranger 3rd Generation Front
Ford

Source: S&P Global Mobility

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