SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — The average age of cars and light trucks in the U.S. has risen again this year to a record of 12.5 years, up by more than three months over 2022, according to the latest analysis from S&P Global Mobility.
With more than 284 million vehicles in operation (VIO) in the U.S., the increase in the average age is in line with the firm's prediction from last year that constrained new vehicle sales would continue to impact and put upward pressure on the average age, S&P Global said.
In addition, the continued popularity of light trucks/SUVs has impacted the number of passenger cars on the road, which fell below 100 million for the first time since 1978.
This is the sixth straight year of increase in the average vehicle age of the U.S. fleet. It also reflects the highest yearly increase since the 2008-09 recession, which caused acceleration in average age beyond its traditional rate due to the sharp decline in new-vehicle sales demand, the company said.
In 2022, the average age experienced upward pressure initially due to supply constraints that caused low levels of new vehicle inventory, and then by slowing demand as interest rates and inflation reduced consumer demand in the second half of the year, S&P Global said.
The combined effect caused retail and fleet sales of new light vehicles in the U.S. to drop 8% to 13.9 million units in 2022 from 14.6 million in 2021,the lowest level recorded in over a decade.