The average car on American roads is now 12.6 years old

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Auto journalists and enthusiasts love buying new cars, but the general public isn’t as hyped about the process. A recent study from S&P Global Mobility found that the average age of vehicles on U.S. roads has continued increasing, reaching 12.6 years in 2024.

That figure, which applies to cars and light trucks, grew two months from 2023’s study. That increase has presented a prime business opportunity for aftermarket parts and service providers. S&P Global Mobility’s aftermarket practice lead, Todd Campau, said, “With average age growth, more vehicles are entering the prime range for aftermarket service, typically from six to 14 years of age. 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.”

Owners holding onto their cars means fewer are heading to scrapyards, though the number of scrapped vehicles has not increased since last year. That said, two cars are scrapped for every new passenger car registration, adding up to 27 million vehicles leaving the roads since 2020 with just around 13 million new ones registered.

Even with the pace of scrapping, the number of vehicles on our roads has grown significantly since last year. As of January, there were 286 million vehicles in service, two million more than last year. The number of vehicles aged six years or less fell from 98 million in 2019 to 90 million in 2024, driven in part by pandemic-related shortages and supply chain issues.

At the same time, the number of EVs in service continues to grow, despite some prognosticators’ view that the sky is falling. There were 3.2 million EVs in operation at the beginning of this year, an increase of more than 50 percent since 2022. That said, S&P noted that the 3.5-year average age of EVs on the roads could increase in the near term as adoption slows.

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