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Average age of a car on US roads hits record 11.8 years old

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The average age of a car in the U.S. hit a new record, according to IHS Markit. People are holding on to cars for an average of 11.8 years, which means you're looking at a lot of cars from the 2007 model year or earlier. Pictured: the 2007 Jeep Cherokee. (Image courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)

Americans aren't saying goodbye to their vehicles like they used to.

The average age of a car in the U.S. hit a new record, according to the results of a study released Thursday from IHS Markit. The average age of a vehicle is 11.8 years old as of 2018. A few factors have likely contributed to the climbing age of vehicles. To start, longer-term loans are available with many consumers financing cars for six or seven years. Thus, they're hanging onto the cars and maintain them longer. Secondly, IHS Markit said vehicles are simply built far better than they were in the past. Both factors have helped the fleet of cars on American roads stick around longer.

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The auto industry also experienced a boom throughout this decade; many buyers likely won't be swapping into a new vehicle until sometime next decade. Even then, the study said the average age should climb past 12-years-old next decade.



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Breaking down the information by region, western states have the oldest vehicles at 12.4 years old. The northeast's fleet of vehicles is younger at 10.9 years old, which busts the myth that New Englanders keep their cars forever. Although there isn't conclusive evidence, weather conditions could play a part in helping cars stay on the road longer in the west than in the wintry northeast.

State-by-state, Montana is home to the oldest vehicles on the road with an average age of 16.6 years. The state with the youngest vehicles is Vermont at 9.9 years.

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