Data collected by national automotive research firm R.L. Polk & Co. has found that the average age of the passenger car/light truck fleet in America reached an all-time high of 10.8 years. Responding to the troubled economic conditions that have played a key role in shaping purchase behavior of millions of people during the past several years, the Polk research confirms that owners have simply held onto their existing vehicles, literally in record numbers.
The Polk survey found that the average age of passenger cars currently on the roads here rose from 11.0 to 11.1 years during the July 2010 to July 2011 period, compared to the 1995 figure of 8.4 years. On the truck side of the ledger, the average climbed from 10.1 to 10.4 years, versus an 8.3 year age in 1995. In the case of both cars and trucks, the Polk data indicated that the average age index saw its most pronounced uptick during the past five years. It anticipates that the increase in vehicle sales during 2011 and the expected continuation of that trend during 2012 will likely see that aging rate slow. However, Polk also believes that at least some degree of this age increase is attributable to the fact that modern vehicles are simply designed and built to last longer than their predecessors.