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Median Vehicle Age in US Stays at Record High in 2007

Median age of passenger cars in operation remained at 9.2 years in 2007, tying the record high in 2006, according to the vehicle population report released by R. L. Polk & Co. The median age for trucks increased 5.8% to 7.3 years in 2007. Though registrations were down, the median age for light trucks in 2007 increased by 4.4% to 7.1 years.

Age
Median age of cars and light trucks in the US. Click to enlarge.

The median age of trucks, while still lower than cars, is starting to increase more now than in the recent past as the surge of pick-up trucks, SUVs and minivans purchased in the 1990s get older.

—Mark Seng, vice president of Polk’s Aftermarket team

The percentage of total passenger cars and trucks scrapped in 2007 was up slightly to 5.2% compared to 5.0% in 2006. The scrappage rate for passenger cars increased to 5.5% in 2007 from 4.9%.

We continue to see increasing vehicle durability across all vehicle types regardless of last year’s increase in the scrappage rate for cars, light trucks and total vehicles. In 2007, the percentage of the car population 11 years of age and older was 41.3%, compared to 40.9% in 2006. For light trucks, this percentage was 29.5% in 2007 and 29.2% in 2006.

—Dave Goebel, consultant for Polk’s Aftermarket Solutions team

Polk’s vehicle population report data is updated annually on 1 July, following an in-depth analysis of more than 248 million vehicles.

Comments

sjc

This is a statistic that should be interesting to car makers. It represents a potential market, if people can afford a new car and are willing to buy what they offer.

I have found that it is more cost effective if I keep my car and fix it. Some people just want a new car every few years, but that is expensive.

If we are going to turn over the "fleet" of cars to something more efficient, then buyers are going to need to be convinced to make the expenditures.

Healthy Breaze

So, economy turning down, new car sales stagnating, people are holding off on getting new cars...good or bad?

It could be good in that the inherent energy costs of new cars is high, and the inherent energy costs of old cars is a sunk cost. It could be good in that perhaps these people will hold off for a few years, and then have more economical choices in 2010 or so, as CAFE impacts, PHEV, HEV, and other technologies become more affordable.

It could be bad, in that it's a sign it will take a long time for the fleet to rotate in new, higher mileage vehicles.

sjc

To me, it comes down to connecting production and consumption. Good predictable business growth seems preferable to booms and busts. If business can count on next year and the year after, they can make longer term plans. If continued disruption occurs, it is harder to plan. The same holds true for households.

Patrick

~8.75 years on my current car. I expect to have it for a total of 11 years as I don't see the type of fuel efficiency I am searching for in a new car being available until 2010 as Healthy Breeze asserted.

justathought

because of the new CAFE standards you will see a large number of people holding on to there bigger trucks and SUV's as the new politically correct eco versions are being forced upon America yet again. does any one remember the early 1980's? The last time the gooberment forced change against market forces the American people responded by demanding the creation of the SUV by using there wallets to vote for what kind of car they wanted. prior to 1980 large family cars were the norm enter CAFE ver 1.0 and the American people got pissed at the little dinky cars that were offered at the new mpg and they stopped buying. This sent the manufactures into a fit. they figured out how to give the people the big vehicle they wanted to buy. thus the SUV was created. This is America we are not Russia or china you cannot mandate what consumer choice is, if consumers want large vehicles for there large families they will buy that, the market will always find a way around the standards. Now you will 1. See people holding on to large cars longer and 2. There will be a new breed of super trucks over the 8500lb limit for the well to-do to drive, this much s is certain. Fuel economy means little to families making 150k plus a year combined incomes. Its a small part of disposable income at that level. This effect is already being seen as this study shows.

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