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The Average Age of Cars in the U.S. is 11.6 Years

We were traveling through the Southwest recently and noticed a lot of older cars, aka "road warriors" or "mobile clunkers", depending on how you look at them. Why did we see so many older vehicles?  That's because the average age of cars in this country is a record 11.6 years old, according to one recent study conducted by IHS Markit.

At Service King Orlando East, we know from our own experience that people are holding onto their vehicles for longer periods of time for a lot of reasons. We see older cars tooling around in Orlando, FL all the time, so it's a reality, but is it good for society overall?

Although the IHS report stated that vehicle quality is the #1 reason why people are keeping their cars longer, many peoples' biggest concern is about safety. Some of these older vehicles have only one airbag or none at all, and of course, they don't have any of the new collision avoidance systems either.

 Maybe the prices of new cars are also why people aren't buying new vehicles as much as they used to. Kelley Blue Book reports that the average price of a vehicle in 2017 is $34,342, while a compact SUV averages $28,395, a full-size pickup is going to set you back $45,252 and one of those big SUVs will cost you $60,670 on average.

In order to pay for these new vehicles, people are taking out longer car loans that might stretch out to as many as eight years, in some cases. People in the U.S. are not afraid to be in debt, with more consumers increasingly buying cars on loan overall. In 2016, Americans had accumulated nearly $1.2 trillion in outstanding auto debt. According to Equifax and The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, that's up almost 10%  from 2015.

So who is buying these new cars? According to J.D. Power, the demographics are changing at a rapid rate. Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) still made up 36%  of new vehicle buyers, but that's down from 42% in 2011.

Meanwhile, Generation X  (born from roughly the mid-1960's to about 1980) comprised about 25% of car buyers last year, with the Millennial generation purchasing 29% of all new vehicles.

So, how old is your car and do you think it's safe? Maybe it's time to start looking around for a better (and newer) alternative to what you're driving now? These are some important things to think about, because your car (like all of us) cannot slow down old Father Time.

Sources: CNN, IHS and Equifax

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