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Average US Vehicle Age Hits Record 12.6 Years As Prices Stay Sky-High

President Joe Biden wears sunglasses after making a joke about becoming the "Dark Brandon" persona during the White House Correspondents' Association dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington, Saturday, April 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Cars, trucks and SUVs in the U.S. keep getting older, hitting a record average age of 12.6 years in 2024 as people hang on to their vehicles largely because new ones cost so much.

S&P Global Mobility, which tracks state vehicle registration data nationwide, said Wednesday that the average vehicle age grew about two months from last year’s record.

But the growth in average age is starting to slow as new vehicle sales start to recover from pandemic-related shortages of parts, including computer chips. The average increased by three months in 2023.

Still, with an average U.S. new-vehicle selling price of just over $45,000 last month, many can’t afford to buy new — even though prices are down more than $2,000 from the peak in December of 2022, according to J.D. Power.

“It’s prohibitively high for a lot of households now,” said Todd Campau, aftermarket leader for S&P Global Mobility. “So I think consumers are being painted into the corner of having to keep the vehicle on the road longer.”

Other factors include people waiting to see if they want to buy an electric vehicle or go with a gas-electric hybrid or a gasoline vehicle. Many, he said, are worried about the charging network being built up so they can travel without worrying about running out of battery power. Also, he said, vehicles are made better these days and simply are lasting a long time.

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