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ANSWERED on Thu 13 Mar 2008 - 2:46 pm UTC by Bobbie Sevens

Question: Average life of cars by country

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 12 Mar 2008 14:04 UTCWed 12 Mar 2008 - 2:04 pm UTC 

Looking for data on the average life of passenger cars by country/ region including:


I have seen estimates of about 12.5 years but I need to confirm this and hopefully have data specific to country.

Any similar data for heavy duty trucks/ commercial trucks would also be great (I think these are in the 5 year range). These are commercial trucks for shipping, etc.



Oliver Scriptor 


 12 Mar 2008 15:54 UTCWed 12 Mar 2008 - 3:54 pm UTC 

I fear that this question is nearly impossible to answer, for several reasons:

1) China and Russia are both extremely secretive with any kind of statistics. I know from years of experience that it is almost impossible to get any useful statistics from those countries - they treat every kind of data as if it were a state secret.

2) India is pure chaos when it comes to transportation and statistics, let alone transportation statistics.

3) Europe (I mean the European Union here) is not a country but, alas, 27 countries, all with their own statistics in over a dozen of different languages. It would take days, if not weeks, and knowledge of all those languages, to retrieve statistical data. And still then it is a quest in a huge maze with scattered statistics (in over one hour, I only managed to find official car lifespan data for Germany and the UK).

The circumstances are not favorable, as you can see. I will see what I can do, but I can't promise anything.

May I offer you a suggestion? Maybe you would like to split the question into several lower-priced questions with a narrower scope. That would significantly increase the chance of getting at least some information. For example, you could make three or so questions for the European countries, or those EU countries that are most important for you.





 12 Mar 2008 16:01 UTCWed 12 Mar 2008 - 4:01 pm UTC 

perhaps you can find references or stories which mention this type of data

i am not expecting statistical significance but the auto industry globally and regionally is so well tracked, I am sure there will be something useful in some of the countries/ regions I am looking into



Bobbie Sevens 


 12 Mar 2008 23:36 UTCWed 12 Mar 2008 - 11:36 pm UTC 

Hello Blucken,

I can provide you with the average lifespan of cars for the following countries and regions.

- United States
- European Union
- Austria
- UK
- Germany
- China
- India
- Australia
- Colombia
- Morocco
- Philippines

I was unable to locate figures for trucks; however I did find the average life span of a fire truck and a  diesel-electric hybrid bus in the United States.

Would all the above  information be a satisfactory answer to your question?



Bobbie Sevens 


 13 Mar 2008 06:19 UTCThu 13 Mar 2008 - 6:19 am UTC 

Hello again Blucken,

I also located the average life of cars in:

- The Netherlands
- France

By any chance, would the average age of passenger cars in use work for you?  I have those figures for 19 European countries and I believe I can find that information for some other countries.

Would this interest you?





 13 Mar 2008 13:55 UTCThu 13 Mar 2008 - 1:55 pm UTC 


as usual, you delivered

the info you have is everything I need



Bobbie Sevens 


 13 Mar 2008 14:46 UTCThu 13 Mar 2008 - 2:46 pm UTC 

Hello Blucken,

I'm glad the information I located is useful.

Average Life of Cars

United States
10-15 years

"The U.S. Department of Transportation reports the average life span of a vehicle is 12 years or 128,500 miles."
Florida  Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles

"Vehicles today have an average life of 13 years, and with no significant relief expected in the future from the high gas prices we have seen, deciding which vehicle to purchase can have huge benefits."
JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE http://jec.senate.gov/Documents/Reports/05.24.07%20CAFE%20Report.pdf

15 years
"The average life cycle of a new car is 15 years, so even if all new cars and trucks sold tomorrow in the United States magically got 45 miles per gallon instead of the average 20 miles per gallon today, a decline in the nation's fleet average would be gradual at best."
Salon: May 2005

14 years

"For Europe, it is estimated that annually 9 till 10 millions of vehicles reach the end of their life span, with an average age of 13 till 14 years."
Automotive Catalysts http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enCL219CL221&q=%22*+*+reach+the+end+of+their+life+span%2C+with+an+average+age+of+13+till+14+years%22

Europe Union
12-15 years

"Taking into account that the average lifespan of a car in use is between 12 and 15 years, the composition of the car represented in Figure 3 will be recycled in the next decade in E.U. countries."
End-of-Life Vehicle Recycling in the European Union

12 years
" The service life is fixed at 12 years, which is the average lifespan of passenger vehicles in the European Union."
"The average economic lifetime of a car in EU-15 amounts to 11.4 years (IPTS 2003). Since the average age of the vehicle fleet in the new member states is 50% higher than in EU-15, an average economic lifetime of 12 years is a conservative assumption."

13 years

"The average age of a vehicle when taken off the road is 13 years." 

12 to 15 years

"The average age of an Austrian car is 8.9 years, a figure that has been rising in recent years.  The average lifespan of an Austrian passenger vehicle is 12 to 15 years.  The average distance driven per vehicle and year is estimated at around 13.500 kilometers, a figure which has been falling over the past years."

Source: U.S. Commercial Service
The Austrian Market for Automotive Replacement Parts
Marta Haustein and Christopher Williams - July 2007

13.95 years

According to the Commission of Integrated Transport, the average lifespan of a UK car may be estimated in 13.95 years.
"The life of most British cars comes to an end at around 13 to 17 years, not 5 years. More exact calculations using the figures in the graphs give an average lifespan of 13.95 years, i.e. about 14 years."
Commission of Integrated Transport http://www.cfit.gov.uk/docs/2001/scot0122/scot0122/02.htm

"The average lifespan of a car is 13.5 years and about 2m cars and vans are scrapped each year in the UK alone."
BBC News

7.2 years

"Over the last twenty years, the average lifespan of a car has risen from 4.8 to 7.2 years."
U.S. Commercial Service

9-10 years

"A passenger vehicle in Germany has, on average, a life-span of more than 9 years, resulting in high demand for aftermarket parts and services."
Germany: Automotive Parts and Services 08/07

10 years
"Germany the average total life span of a car is 10 years. At least after eight years, the rust-problem is a significant danger for almost every car in Germany and, therefore, considered to be normal wear and tear."
Portal Germany

20 years

". . . in India the average service life of a passenger car is about 20 years with 15000 km of annual travel."
International Journal of Hydrogen Energy

10 years

"Assumes average useful life for vehicles is 10 years. Source: China Auto Yearbook"
From: The Road Ahead: China’s Passenger Vehicle Market in 2015

225,000 km

"The core market for the traditional aftermarket vehicle fleet is vehicles between the ages of 5 to 12 years old. The average lifespan of a vehicle in the 1960s was just under 162,000 km. Today this is approaching 225,000 km."
Automotive Industries Association of Canada

15 years

"In the UK, the life span of vehicles is estimated at about 14 years. By deduction from the statistics given above, it is likely that vehicles on Australian roads have a life span slightly greater - probably at least 15 years."
Environment Australia http://www.environment.gov.au/settlements/publications/waste/elv/impact-2002/chapter3.html

12-15 years

" There is a large demand for automotive diagnostic equipment in Colombia that is primarily attributed to the long lifespan of Colombian automobiles. The average lifespan of the 3.3 million vehicles in Colombia is twelve to fifteen years."
U.S. Commercial Service

17 years

"While 45% of the vehicles in use were introduced between 1991 and 2003, more than 50 percent of circulating cars have an average life of 17 years."
U.S. Commercial Service http://www.buyusa.gov/easternmed/automarketbrief.html

10-15 years

"Average vehicle life in the country ranges from 10 to 15 years, hence the high potential for replacement parts."
U.S. Commercial Service

Less than the U.S. And Europe

"Generally, the average vehicle lifespan in Japan is shorter than in the United States or Europe.  The average vehicle mileage is also less than in the United States and Europe.  Furthermore, the quality of motor vehicles in Japan is very high.  With more frequent turnover and lower mileage, demand for replacement auto parts and accessories per vehicle is considerably less than in the United States and Europe."

Fire Truck
20-25 years

The average life span of a fire truck is between 20 and 25 years.
City of St. Mary's

Diesel-Electric Hybrid Bus
Over 12 years

The average lifespan of a Diesel-Electric Hybrid Bus is about 500,000 miles over 12 years; this is an average of over 40,000 miles a year.

Average Age of Vehicles in Use

United States

Median age of vehicles
Table 1-25: Median Age of Automobiles and Trucks in Operation in the United States

Year    Automobiles     Light trucks    All trucks
2005       9.0              6.6             6.8
2006       9.2              6.8             6.9
Previous years are available at the link below.
National Transportation Statistics > 2007 http://www.bts.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/2007/html/table_01_25.html


The average age of passenger cars in the EU increased from 6.5 years in 1990 to 7.4 years in 2001.

"The average age of passenger cars in the EEA varies widely between countries. The average age is lowest in Luxembourg (4 years), highest in Portugal (11 years), Greece and Finland (10 years). The high average age of passenger cars in Portugal and Greece relates to the general economic conditions, while the high ages in Sweden (9 years) and Finland (10 years) are probably a consequence of periods of economic recession in these countries in the early 1990s."

Estimated Average Age of Passenger Cars (2001)
Country                      Age
Austria                      7.4
Belgium                      5.6
Denmark                      8.2
Finland                     10.2
France                       7.5
Germany                      6.8
Greece                      10.0
Ireland                      5.2
Italy                        8.1
Luxembourg                   4.0
Netherlands                  7.0
Portugal                    11.4
Spain                        8.3
Sweden                       8.7
UK                           5.9
Cyprus                       7.6
Hungary                     11.9
Poland                      10.3
Bulgaria                    13.6
EU-15                        7.4

Source: Eurostat, 2003

Average age of passenger cars - year 2004
Great Britain        6.8
Switzerland          7.9
Italy                9.4
Belium               7.6
France               8.0
Spain                9.1
Denmark              9.3
Sweeden              9.6
Norway              10.2
Finland             10.5

"In the 15 EU countries, the average age of car fleet varies greatly, with the highest ages in Norway and Finland with over 10 years old car fleet, Sweden 9,7 years and Denmark with 8,4 average life time of a car fleet(Bil-og veistatistikk 2002). In addition, there are a number of cars exceeding the age of 20 years still in use. For example, in Norway, 6,2 % ofthe car fleet is over 20 years old (Statistics Norway 2002) and in Finland the average age of abandoned cars is 18 years (Tieliikenne Suomessa 2004)."
Nordic Council


"Average vehicle age is 8 years. 21% of cars on the road are less than 3 years old, 16% are between 4 and 5 years old, 18% are between 6 and 8 years old, 22% are between 8 and 12 years old and 23% are older than 12 years."

Many commercial vehicles, particularly Class 8 truck tractors used for hauling freight across North America, run for millions of miles before they are removed from service," says the analyst of this research. "The truck's engine will almost certainly be completely rebuilt or overhauled at least once, while over the same period, the A/C compressor, radiator, or charge air cooler may be replaced many times."

I hope this helps!

Best regards,


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