The answer is that people are keeping their cars longer.  It shouldn’t be a surprise in our current industry that this is the case.  But in the same way, there are always new vehicles on the roads. But, the average shows that cars on staying on the road longer.

Let’s look into some of the possible reasons.  First though we need to ask ourselves a few questions:  Are we driving a new or used vehicle?  What were the reasons that you choose your trunk or car?  These are all questions that are reviewed each year by hundreds of potential buyers.  We spend on average, over a 100 hours a year driving to work at an average of 24.3 miles.

I am currently driving a 2008 vehicle that I bought brand new.  I had never had a new car and had just finished graduate school.  I felt it was time to own a brand new vehicle.  After four years, I currently have 130,000 miles on it.  That is an average of 32,500 miles per year.   As far as my drive time to work – it far exceeds the average.  My number sits at 90+ minutes per day driving 4 out of 5 days – the 5th day I spend 360 minutes on my drive – and this gives me an average of 144 minutes per day. This doesn’t include if I have to work overtime.  Ouch!!!

The time spent in our car going to work, doesn’t count vacations, errands, visiting family or friends, and definitely not date night.  I think as a population, consume much more than 100 hours a year in our cars. Maybe even ten times this much.

Another reason that we are keeping our vehicles longer, was the downturn in economy.  I had bought my car just before the economy bombed out. If I had waited, even 12 months, I would have chosen a used car.  Looking back, I probably should have anyway.  But the economy is forcing many of us to stay in the same car for a lot longer.

In 1995 – the average age of a car, was 8.4 years old.  This pointed to the used cars as well as a car that an owner had over that time.  On any given day, back in good ol’ 1995, the average car on the streets was made somewhere between 1986 and 1987.  I was a junior in high school and I purchased the keys to a 1985 Cadillac Cimarron. I fit into this average.

As of 2010 this number jumped to 10.6 and in 2011 that number jumped again to 10.8.  This means that last year, the average car was built between 2000 and 2001. That’s pretty impressive.

U.S auto sales hit a thirty year low in 2009 for number of vehicle purchases. This would easily correlate into the numbers we are seeing.  There was a small increase in 2010 and a mild bump in 2011.  The projected forecast for 2012 exceeds each of the previous three years.

Another interesting fact is that overall vehicles on the roads dropped in years 2008, 2009, and 2010.  That pattern reversed itself in 2011 with an overall growth in the industry.  Another forecast projects that 2012, the number of overall vehicle on the road will again increase.

So, if you are looking for an upgrade to your ten year old car, this may be the year for you.  Improving car sales, increasing vehicle production, and the increase in the overall industry may push many of you to consider a new vehicle.  Better than paying for a broken down car that is more of a problem than a solution.

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