Auto parts retailers in the United States are probably clinking glasses right now as more American drivers hold onto their older cars longer than ever before. According to a report from S&P Global Mobility, a combination of low supply and rising prices is causing Americans to shy away from new cars. The average vehicle age in the U.S. is now at 12.5 years, which means it’s up three months from last year and at a record high. Not only that, but this last year’s growth is also the highest year-over-year growth since 2008 and 2009 during the infamous recession.

This trend began during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people turned to personal vehicles rather than public transportation. However, because of manufacturing shutdowns and low supply, most of those customers bought used. But since used cars were in such high demand, prices rose dramatically, forcing many customers into even older used cars.

That same trend was exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, which continues to hurt the supply of semiconductors, hurting the entire vehicle supply chain in turn. Low supply and high demand cause new car prices to go up, forcing many customers to either keep their current cars are buy used ones. Add all of that up and you get Americans driving more old cars than ever before.

According to Todd Campau, associate director of aftermarket solutions for S&P Global Mobility, it’s been passenger cars—sedans, coupes, wagons, and hatchbacks—that have driven the rise in average used car age. Passenger car ages have gone up from 13 to 13.6 years since January 2022. Light-duty truck and SUV ages have stayed pretty consistent, with the average age only going up by a couple of months, from 11.5 to 11.8 years old.

What makes the average vehicle age going up even more interesting is that electric cars helped new car sales last year. S&P claims new battery-electric vehicle sales increased 58% in 2022, with 758,000 cars sold. S&P also claims that the average BEV age is 3.6 years, down a month from the previous year. Car companies pushing for more affordable EVs, along with federal and state tax incentives, might help more American customers into newer vehicles, which could bring the average age of cars up over the next couple years.

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The post Average Age of Cars on US Roads Hits 12.5 Years, A Record High appeared first on The Drive.

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