U.S. Cars on Road Longer: Study

American drivers are being urged to look around them while out on the road. On average, one in 4 cars and trucks they pass is at least 16 years old, according to new analysis of what Americans are driving.

IHS Markit, which tracks vehicle registrations in every state, says the large number pre-2005 cars and trucks on the road is one reason the average age of vehicles in the U.S. has climbed to an all-time high of 11.9 years.

Said IHS' Todd Campau, "A lot of it has to do with quality of the vehicles on the road. They are comfortable keeping that vehicle longer than they would in the past.”

2020 is the fourth straight year the average vehicle age in the U.S. increased, extending a trend over the last two decades during which Americans hang on to their cars and trucks longer. IHS said a decade ago, the average age of a vehicle in the U.S. was 10.6 years. In 2002, the average age was 9.6 years.

With the economy struggling due to COVID-19, prompting companies to lay off millions of Americans, the age of vehicles in the U.S. is likely to rise. It may even climb at a faster rate, according to IHS Markit.

That’s because millions of people who used to commute to their jobs are now putting fewer miles on their cars as they work from home. As a result, their vehicles are likely to last longer. In addition, many who may been ready to buy a new car or truck are likely to continue driving their old one or trade it in for a used model, a market where sales have been surging.