Americans are holding onto their vehicles for longer as a new study from IHS Markit has revealed the average age of light-duty vehicles in the United States is 11.8 years.
The study found the oldest vehicles are located in the western United States where they average 12.4 years old. The ‘newest’ vehicles are in the Northeastern part of the country where the average age is 10.9 years.
More specifically, Montana had the oldest average vehicle age in the country at 16.6 years. Vermont was the ‘youngest’ at 9.9 years.
Unsurprisingly, the popularity of trucks, crossovers and SUVs was also reflected in the study. While the average age of passenger cars increased 2.2 percent from last year, the average age of trucks only climbed by 0.1 percent.
Vehicle prices have been climbing, but IHS Markit’s Mark Seng suggested that’s not the reason why people are holding onto their vehicles for longer. Instead, he credits “better technology and overall vehicle quality improvements” as some of the key reasons behind the aging vehicle fleet.
Besides growing older, the fleet is growing larger. According to the study, there are more than 278 million light-duty vehicles in operation today. That’s an increase of more than 5.9 million from last year and it’s one of the highest increases ever recorded by the company.
Automakers might be concerned that consumers are holding onto their vehicles for longer, but it’s not all bad news for the industry. In particular, Seng said aging vehicles could be a boon for aftermarket companies as well as service and repair centers.