WASHINGTON (5/15/14)--Americans are holding on to their vehicles longer, a development that could mean fewer lending opportunities for credit unions.
The average age of households' cars, vans, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and trucks increased from 10.1 years in 2007 to just over 11.3 years in 2012, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics Expenditure Survey. The average age of cars, vans, SUVs and trucks reported in the survey all increased at similar rates from 2001 to 2012, even as the share of trucks and vans increased to 47.3% from 36.2%
The trend in aging autos coincides with declines in average household income in 2008 dating back to the recession. However, subsequent recovery in households' incomes and a return to previous levels of expenditures on vehicles in 2012 do not appear to have reversed the trend from consumers keeping their vehicles longer.
The proportion of newer vehicles, or those less than five years old, dropped to 15% from 22% between 2002 and 2012, while the proportion of older autos, or those manufactured at least 11 years ago, jumped to 42% from 34%.
The average annual maintenance cost per vehicle climbed to $537 in 2012 from $514 in 2011, not including average car insurance expenditures of $593 per vehicle and auto repair service policies averaging $7 per vehicle.
In 2012, households owning vehicles less than five years old reported the lowest maintenance and repair costs per vehicle. Households with vehicles averaging six to 15 years of age paid $151 more per vehicle per year, on average, for maintenance and repair than did households with newer vehicles.