The study found that the average age of cars and light trucks in the United States has reached a record high of 12.5 years. This trend is attributed to supply constraints on dealer inventories of new vehicles in 2022, coupled with reduced consumer demand resulting from higher inflation and interest rates.
While the overall vehicle age has been steadily increasing over the past six years, S&P predicts a potential reversal in the coming year. The research indicates that as availability improves and demand revives, new vehicle sales are projected to surpass 14.5 million in 2023, causing the average vehicle age to decline.
Interestingly, the aging trend does not apply to electric vehicles (EVs), as they buck the trend of longer ownership. The average age of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the United States has actually decreased slightly to 3.6 years, down from 3.7 years in 2022. S&P attributes this to the rapid growth in BEV sales, which saw a 58% increase in 2022. Despite a greater percentage of electric vehicles leaving the market compared to combustion vehicles, the rising sales of BEVs contribute to a relatively young average age within the electric vehicle sector.
Between 2013 and 2022, S&P's data reveals that 6.6% of BEVs were taken out of operation, while only 5.2% of combustion vehicles left the fleet during the same period.