Ford Authority

Average U.S. Vehicle Age Over 12 Years, Another All-Time High

With both new and used vehicle prices soaring to new record levels with virtually every passing month amid inventory shortages stemming from the chip shortage, it’s becoming more difficult to afford to make a switch either way. That’s a big part of the reason why the average U.S. vehicle age slipped to 12.1 years in 2020, as Americans are keeping their vehicles longer than ever rather than heading out and paying exorbitant prices for a replacement. That trend continued in 2021, as new data from S&P Global Mobility shows that the average U.S. vehicle age increased slightly to 12.2 years last year.

That represents a new all-time high and the fifth consecutive year that the average U.S. vehicle age has increased by some margin. This change also occurred as the total U.S. vehicle fleet swelled by 3.5 million units to 283 passenger cars and light trucks on the roadways in 2021, while vehicle scrappage (the number of units leaving the vehicle population) declined by 11 million vehicles to 4.2 percent of the total vehicle population last year as well – the lowest in two decades.

Unfortunately, S&P Global Mobility expects this trend to continue throughout 2022 and into 2023 as the chip shortage endures and new/used vehicle prices continue to rise. Making matters worse for those hanging onto older vehicles, replacement parts are also becoming harder to find and more expensive to buy.

Meanwhile, Ford’s certified pre-owned vehicle sales rose by 26 percent last year as more shoppers are opting for used vehicles over new ones. The Ford F-Series pickup lineup – which includes the Ford F-150 and Ford Super Duty – remains incredibly popular on the used market as well, with over 16 million of those trucks on the road today. The F-150 also has the highest market share of all U.S. vehicles in operation, while Ford vehicles as a whole ranked among the top five expected to last beyond 200k miles in a recent study.

We’ll have more automotive insights like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for ongoing Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. David Dickinson

    Coincidentally, I spent the weekend cleaning up my “beater” ’04 Sienna. After some deliberation, I decided it was better to clean it ($50), make a few repairs ($500), and then repaint it ($1250) than replace it for many of the same reasons stated in the article. I intend to get another 5 years out of it.

  2. Nelson

    My current car is 14 years old and I have no plans to get something newer even though in some ways I would like to. The main good point is that it only has about 55,000 mile on it.

  3. Michael

    I have a 96 Ford Ranger Splash, 5 spd manual, 3.0L V6 with 245,000 km on it, that I have had for 18 years, and after looking at what is available ( and not available ) at what price and waiting time, I will just keep it. It will last until the next recession when there should be plenty of vehicles available to pick and choose from ( instead of waiting months if not more for them to be built and shipped ) and at better prices, while my money is making money due to the higher interest rates. And I still like my truck, and enjoy driving it, instead of some vehicle telling me how to drive, or trying????? to drive itself.

  4. Dan

    Well yeah. When you look at everything that has happened over the past two years, it’s no wonder that people haven’t been selling their old cars and getting new ones.

    Especially now with the shortages and de-contented vehicles.

  5. Bill Byrne

    no kidding !!!!! you cant buy a new one ,I guess, my Maverick is going on 8 MONTHS NOW! STILL DONT HAVE IT


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