CARS.COM — Time to give the mothers of the world a reprieve from the your-mama's-so-old jokes and instead redirect our youth-fixated culture's age-shaming snaps toward another target: our cars.
Speak of the dozens, did you know that the average car on the road is damn near a dozen years old? According to the business industry analysts at IHS Markit, the average age of U.S. cars in 2016 reached a record 11.6 years, rising once more from 11.5 years in 2015.
If the average car on the road is 11.6 years old, do you know what that means? Your car's so old that it first rolled off the dealer lot around May 2005 when...
- The top movie at the box office was the marginally-less-terrible-than-preceding-prequels "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith."
- The No. 1 song on the radio was a newly No Doubt-less Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl."
- George W. Bush was still in his first term as POTUS.
- Hurricane Katrina was still three months from literally changing the face of New Orleans forever.
- The newly redesigned fifth-generation of the Ford Mustang was roaring off the assembly line with a late-'60s throwback exterior styling Steve McQueen would've approved of.
- Kids now preparing to start seventh grade were getting smacked on the butt and turned upside down by the obstetrician.
- One Donald J. Trump was getting fired up to host the fourth season of NBC game show "The Apprentice."
"Quality of new vehicles continues to be a key driver of the rising average vehicle age over time," said Mark Seng, IHS Markit's director of global automotive aftermarket practice, in a statement. "The recession created an acceleration beyond its traditional rate due to the nearly 40 percent drop in new-vehicle sales in 2008-09. In the last couple of years, however, average age is returning to a more traditional rate of increase."
IHS Markit predicts that by 2021, the number of vehicles 16 years old or more will grow by 30 percent to 81 million, with 20 million of those more than 25 years old. Despite cars on the road continuing to get longer in the tooth, they're still multiplying: Vehicle registrations in the U.S. have reached an all-time high of 264 million, a 2.4 percent spike over the previous year, breaking the previous annual growth record of 2.1 percent set in 2015.
What's more, not only are the vehicles older, but people are holding onto them longer than ever. At IHS' last count at the end of 2015, the average length of ownership measured a record 79.3 months — more than 1.5 months longer than reported the previous year — and nearly 66 months for used vehicles.
"Both are significantly longer lengths of ownership since the same measure a decade ago," IHS Markit stated.
The moral of this story? When buying your next car, choose as carefully as you would, say, a spouse. Maybe more carefully — 'cause it could be around for a looong time. (Did we mention Cars.com is "There for Every Turn," by chance?)