Average Vehicle Age Hits 12.6 Years In 2024

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - June 6, 2024
2024 Nissan Versa

Sky-high prices for new cars, inflation, and the automotive industry’s shift toward electric vehicles are driving a lot of car owners to keep their older vehicles around for longer, reports S&P Global Mobility. The average age of cars and light trucks on U.S. roads has climbed to 12.6 years in 2024, a new record and an increase in age of two months compared to last year. This, as the organization points out, represents a great opportunity for automotive companies in the aftermarket and service sectors, as older vehicles will need more repairs and parts, as owners look to get some modern features.

One of the largest factors that’s forcing U.S. shoppers to keep their vehicles for longer is the high prices of new vehicles. S&P Global Mobility claims that the average transaction price for a new vehicle in the country hit $47,218 in March 2024.

Currently, vehicles between the ages of six to 14 years old represent the largest group of vehicles in operation (VIO) and represent 38% of the fleet of vehicles on the road. Data from the organization estimates that there are roughly 120 million VIO that are in this age group. In 2020, the number of VIO for this age group hovered around 100 million.

The second largest age group of VIO are 15+ years old. In 2024, vehicles in this age group accounted for approximately 90 million VIO. This age group of vehicles climbed by roughly 10 million compared to 2020 and is expected to grow by an additional 10 million to 100 million by 2028.

Average Vehicle Age Hits 12.6 Years In 2024

Interestingly, vehicles between the ages of three to five years old and zero to three years accounted for the smallest vehicle age groups for VIO. There are approximately 45 million VIO for vehicles between the ages of three to five years old and 40 million VIO for vehicles that fall between zero to three years old. Both of these age groups have grown by approximately 5 million VIO since 2020 and, unlike the older age groups, are expected to shrink by 2028. VIO between the ages of zero to three years old account for nearly 15% of the fleet in 2024.

S&P Global Mobility believes that the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent supply chain shortages are what led to reduced numbers for VIO between the ages of zero to five years old from 2020 to 2024. Whatever the reasons, older vehicles, those between the ages of six to 14 and more than 15 years old, are set to grow. The organization believes that this age group will represent 70% or more of the VIO for the next five years.

As automakers move to prioritize SUVs, electrified vehicles, and more advanced tech features, the price of vehicles skyrockets. The cheapest car on sale for the 2024 model year is the Nissan Versa which costs $17,820. But to get it to that price, shoppers have to get it with a manual transmission, which is about as popular as a flip phone these days. And they have to be willing to get a subcompact car with front-wheel drive, not an SUV with all-wheel drive.

Pictured: 2024 Nissan Versa

Source: S&P Global Mobility

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, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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