Question of the Day: What is the average age of a car on the road today?

Let's just say the average car has certainly lost that new car smell. 

Answer: 12.2 years

Questions:

  • What do you think goes into the decision to purchase a new car when you have a car that is working ok?
  • As cars age, what would you expect to happen with their maintenance costs?
  • What are the factors that you think determine the longevity of a car (i.e., how long a car can stay on the road)?
  • What are the pros/cons of owning the same car for 12 years?
  • Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

    Behind the numbers (CNET): 

    According to research from S&P Global Mobility (formerly IHS Markit), the average age of a car on US roads is now 12.2 years. It is once again a new record, eclipsing last year's result of 12.1 years. This is actually the average of both cars and light trucks; when the two are split, the average car age is 13.1 years, while the average light-truck age is just 11.6. Truck age has remained relatively flat over the last several years, while in that same time period cars just kept getting older and older.

    The reasons for this upward shift are largely the same as last year. The COVID-19 pandemic and all its related supply-chain woes are front and center in S&P Global Mobility's analysis. As the company notes in its release, a constantly strained supply and growing demand may be keeping cars in driveways longer. The demand for used cars is still high, too, helping contribute to the increasing average age. Scrappage, when old cars leave the vehicle population permanently, continues to stay low, compounding the issue further.

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    Looking for more NGPF resources about cars? Here's the resources and activities that our new and improved Search tool found including an activity on purchasing a used car. 

    Question of the Day: What is the average age of a car on the road today?