Average Age Of Cars On U.S. Roads Hits Record High of 12.6 Years

Older Vehicles Drive Growth in Aftermarket Services and Reflect Shifting Consumer Behavior...

A recent study by S&P Global Mobility revealed that the average age of vehicles on American roads reached an all-time high of 12.6 years in 2024. This figure, which encompasses both cars and light trucks, marks a two-month increase from last year’s study and highlights a trend of people holding onto their vehicles longer than ever.

Impact on Aftermarket Services –

2006 Dodge Charger R/T Road/Track Group.

The rising average vehicle age presents a lucrative opportunity for the aftermarket parts and service industry. Todd Campau, Aftermarket Practice Lead at S&P Global Mobility, notes, “With average age growth, more vehicles are entering the prime range for aftermarket service, typically from 6 to 14 years-of-age. With more than 110 million vehicles in that sweet spot – reflecting nearly 38% 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% through 2028.”

Fewer Cars Going to Scrapyards –

Interestingly, despite the aging vehicle population, the number of scrapped vehicles has not increased. For every two cars scrapped, only one new passenger car is registered. Since 2020, around 27 million vehicles have been taken off the roads, while only about 13 million new ones have been registered.

Overall Vehicle Count on the Rise –

Despite the increase in scrapped vehicles, the number of vehicles on U.S. roads has continued to grow. As of January, there were 286 million vehicles in service, which is two million more than the previous year. However, the number of newer vehicles (6 years old or less) has decreased from 98 million in 2019 to 90 million in 2024. This decline is partly due to pandemic-related shortages and supply chain disruptions.

Growth of Electric Vehicles (EVs) – 

2024 Dodge Charger Daytona Scat Pack ‘First Edition’ #2 in Triple Nickel. 

Amidst these trends, the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road is steadily increasing. As of early 2024, there were 3.2 million EVs in operation, marking a significant 50% increase since 2022. However, the average age of EVs, currently at 3.5 years, is expected to rise in the near term as the rate of new EV adoption slows down.

The increasing average age of vehicles on American roads underscores a shift in consumer behavior, with more people opting to keep their cars longer. This trend provides a boon for the aftermarket service industry and reflects broader economic and supply chain challenges. As the landscape evolves, it will be interesting to see how these dynamics influence the future of automotive ownership and maintenance in the United States.

Source: S&P Global

Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only the Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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