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  /  World News   /  Americans holding onto their cars longer: Study

Americans holding onto their cars longer: Study

(NewsNation) — A lot of drivers around the U.S. are partying like it’s 2010. Or at least, driving that way.

A study of vehicle registration data nationwide shows the average age of a passenger car on the road is now 14 years. For light trucks, the average age is 11.9 years. The average of all vehicles is 12.6 years.

The study by auto industry consultancy S&P Global Mobility blames a combination of high prices for new vehicles and the reluctance by many drivers to purchase electric vehicles.

“A combination of these factors has resulted in consumers keeping their vehicles on the road longer, driving average age upward,” wrote study authors Nishant Parekh and Todd Campau.


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The average price of a new vehicle in March was just over $47,000, according to S&P.

While many are reluctant to pay that kind of money for a new car, some new factors may be in play: “a motivated belief among consumers that automakers’ latest and greatest offerings … are inferior to the products they are replacing,” writes Wall Street Journal auto columnist Dan Neil.

The reasons, according to Neil, stem from new features many don’t want in their vehicles, including “stop/start cycling systems, which shut off engines to save fuel when vehicles are stationary (and) continuously variable transmissions (CVTs), commonly found in compact vehicles with small-displacement engines.”


Many Americans are still shying away from EVs despite Biden’s push, an AP-NORC/EPIC poll finds

And then there’s the privacy issue.

“Some fear that new, digitally connected vehicles could expose their personal information to the Chinese — or worse, to their insurance agencies,” Neil wrote.

The biggest loser from this new trend may be used car dealers. Cars.com says the nationwide supply of used vehicles in January was 4 percent lower than January of 2022. That’s 800,000 fewer used cars for sale that month. And, while the current average price ($28,859) is down by about 3 percent, it’s still 36% higher than before the COVID pandemic.

The winners: repair shops and auto parts stores.

“This continues to improve business opportunities for companies in the aftermarket and vehicle service sector in the US, as repair opportunities are expected to grow alongside vehicle age,” according to the S&P study.


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And what cars are people keeping the longest? Japanese cars, according to online car sales site iSeeCars. Honda, Toyota and Subaru account for the entire top 10 of cars people keep 15 years or longer.

According to its research, 13.7% of Americans who bought a new Toyota Prius have kept that car for 15 or more years.