Average cars are driven for 11.4 years according to data released today by R.L. Polk.
The figure represents a record high, up slightly over last year when the same data showed average cars, crossovers, minivans and light trucks remaining in service for 11.3 years, or 10.8 in 2010. The data showing how long vehicles have been on the road is based on a review of over 247 million U.S. car and light truck registrations.
Vehicles have consistently gained longevity since 2002 when the average lifespan was 9.8 years.
The increased lifespans are due in part to owners being inclined to keep cars longer because of financial uncertainty, but also because vehicles are being engineered better to last longer. Passenger cars are on the road an average of 11.4 years while light trucks are generally on the road for 11.3, according to Polk data.
The longer lifecycle is also creating pent up demand for new cars, feeding growth within the industry. Through July, the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate sits at 15.8 million vehicles. In 2000 and 2001 sales peaked at over 17 million.