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  • Writer's pictureRicha Shetty

Average Vehicle Age on U.S. Roads Reaches All-time High

The average age of light vehicles on U.S. roads is 11.9 years, based on a snapshot of vehicles in operation, an analysis by IHS Markit 2020. That's up from a light-vehicle population that was, on average,11.8 in 2019 and, 11.7 years old in 2018. Though slight, the increase can generate new business opportunities for companies operating in the aftermarket and vehicle servicing sector in the United States. Explore What Exactly is FMCSA? USA DOT

Several factors have contributed to pushing the US average vehicle age higher. Weather and road conditions, driving habits and household finances, and affluence can have a major impact on the average age of vehicles in a state and region. Read more about Honda Pays $85 Million as Settlement for Faulty Airbags in Cars sold in the US

Average Vehicle Age on U.S. Roads Reaches All-time High

Repairing Opportunities:

There are many many older vehicles on the road than there was in 2002, which means there's going to be all different kinds of repairs -- oil changes, brake jobs, and new wiper blades -- that's going to be done to that vehicle cycle," he said. "That's more revenue opportunities for aftermarket repair people."

With new-vehicle sales dipping this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the average age of vehicles on the road has risen again, to 11.9 years, roughly one month older than last year, according to research from IHS Markit.

Pressure in Pandemic?

A number of factors beyond the pandemic have pushed the average vehicle age upwards this year and in years past, including higher average vehicle prices of a new vehicle and the fact that many new vehicles last longer. The average price of a new vehicle in January of this year was $37,851, a 3.5 percent increase from January of 2019, according to Kelley Blue Book. Find Out: Who has the Cheapest RV Insurance in the US?

Future Expectation:

IHS Markit predicts that the average vehicle age will only continue to rise, increasing four to six months in the coming years. Nonetheless, it may be hard to predict how the pandemic has changed total miles driven and the total wear on vehicles.

“While work from home policies may continue for some time, there also has been increased reluctance in the use of public transit and ride-sharing, and many consumers are opting for road trips instead of air travel for summer vacations,” Todd Campau, associate director of Aftermarket Solutions at IHS Markit, said in a statement.


Last year, new vehicles represented 6.1 percent of vehicles on the road, but this year IHS Markit predicts that they will be around 5 percent of vehicles. While that isn’t necessarily good news for automakers, repair shops could benefit from more people holding onto their vehicles rather than replacing them, particularly in the case of vehicles now coming off of warranties. Also, read about How European Battery Makers Power up for Great Green Recovery?

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