Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

How old is your car?

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Greg Peck
August 13, 2013

My vehicle isn't getting any younger. I drive a small sport-utility vehicle that I bought new. It's a 2006 model, and I have about 85,000 miles on it. Having a car that long seems odd to me. Three of the four previous vehicles I owned were also new when I bought them, but I traded them in for various reasons after they were only 2 or 3 years old. Now, of course, my vehicle is already 7 years old. That seems hard to believe. Should I be trading it in?

Well, market research company Polk recently reported that the average age of cars on U.S. highways is now at an all-time high of 11.4 years. Polk also expects that average age to keep climbing.

A decline in new vehicle purchases during the recession pushed the average vehicle age higher because people kept their old cars running longer, Polk says. The number of vehicles older than 12 is growing especially rapidly. Also, says Polk, the trend of cars growing older has been building for a long time. In 2002, the average age was 9.6 years. In 1995, it was 8.4 years.

My wife's car is a 2009 model that she likewise bought new. Guess we should take comfort in the fact both our vehicles are that young.

The aging cars that Americans own and operate is one reason, analysts say, for the surge in new car purchases. Your car won't last forever. Eventually, if you plan to keep driving, you'll need to replace them.

How old are the cars in your family?

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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