The median age of a car in the United States reached an all-time high last year, according to R.L. Polk & Co. As of June 2011, the average age for a new car in the U.S. now stands at 10.8 years — 11.1 years for passenger cars and 10.4 years for light trucks.
The median age of a vehicle has increased steadily over the past 16 years, Polk says, because people are holding onto their vehicles longer for various reasons, including improved vehicle reliability. More recently, the economic downturn has prompted more Americans to keep their vehicles even longer, waiting for a sunnier occasion to buy a new car.
Over the next few years, Polk sees the average age of the vehicle fleet to slow down. The reason has mostly to do with pent-up demand for new cars, which will decelerate the median age rise. According to Polk, the mix of cars to trucks, which was skewed more to trucks in 2008 and 2009, will also bring down the median age over time because trucks age more quickly than cars.
Overall, the United States has some 240.5 million cars on the road, which is slightly down from the peak in 2008 of 242 million vehicles.
Average Age of Vehicles Reaches Record High (R.L. Polk & Co.)