As cars get more reliable Americans are holding onto their vehicles for longer than ever before. The average age of cars and light trucks is now 11.5 years old, according to a new report from IHS Automotive.
In addition to better reliability, cars are getting older because Americans bought far fewer new cars in the years following the Great Recession, as concerns lingered about unemployment and the strength of the economy.
Even as consumers have started purchasing new vehicles again, they’re still holding onto their older ones. The average length of ownership of a new vehicle reached 6.5 years in the first quarter of 2015, more than two years longer than in 2006. The number of cars more than 12 years old continues to grow and is expected to increase 15 percent by 2020.
IHS predicts that the average age of vehicles will inch up slightly over the next few years, hitting 11.7 years in 2018.
The number of cars on the road hit a record 258 million, posting a 2.1 percent increase over last year, driven by the purchase of new cars. IHS expects that volume of cars less than 5 years old will increase by 24 percent over the next five years.
Consumer sales of autos were on pace to rise 4.2 percent this month, according to TrueCar, compared to July of 2014, thanks to increased demand, summer sales events and the growing popularity of premium brands.
Top Reads from The Fiscal Times:
- Why Hillary Clinton’s Tax Plan to Soak Investors Won’t Work
- US Health Spending: $3.1 Trillion a Year and Growing
- Joe Biden: The Looming Threat to a Republican Presidency
Democratic presidential candidates are proposing a variety of new taxes to pay for their preferred social programs. Bloomberg’s Laura Davison and Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou took a look at how the top four candidates would fare under their own tax proposals.
“The fact is very little medical care is shoppable. We become good shoppers when we are repeat shoppers. If you buy a new car every three years, you can become an informed shopper. There is no way to become an informed shopper for your appendix. You only get your appendix out once.”
— David Newman, former director of the Health Care Cost Institute, quoted in an article Thursday by Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times. Levey says the “consumer revolution” in health care – in which patients shop around for the best prices, forcing doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical firms to compete with lower prices – hasn’t materialized, but the higher deductibles that were part of the effort are very much in effect. “High-deductible health insurance was supposed to make American patients into smart shoppers,” Levey writes. “Instead, they got stuck with medical bills they can't afford.”
The House Ways and Means Committee released a new analysis of drug prices in the U.S. compared to 11 other developed nations, and the results, though predictable, aren’t pretty. Here are the key findings from the report:
- The U.S. pays the most for drugs, though prices varied widely.
- U.S. drug prices were nearly four times higher than average prices compared to similar countries.
- U.S. consumers pay significantly more for drugs than other countries, even when accounting for rebates.
- The U.S. could save $49 billion annually on Medicare Part D alone by using average drug prices for comparator countries.
The U.S. ranks 18th for retiree well-being among developed nations, according to the latest Global Retirement Index from Natixis, the French corporate and investment bank. The U.S. fell two spots in the ranking this year, due in part to rising economic inequality and poor performance for life expectancy.