The average age of vehicles on U.S. roadways rose to a record 12.1 years last year, as lofty prices and improved quality prompt owners to hold on to their cars longer.
It was the first time the average vehicle age rose above 12 years, according to data released Monday by research firm IHS Markit. While the average vehicle age has risen steadily over the last 15 years, the trend accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic partly because of a drop in new-car sales, IHS said.
The finding reflects the stronger value of vehicles throughout their life cycles, from higher new-vehicle prices Americans have been paying for years to steeper prices on the used-car lot, said Todd Campau, associate director of aftermarket solutions at IHS. Improved vehicle quality also is a factor, he said.
Whereas 20 years ago a car might have changed hands once or twice and lasted 100,000 miles, it is more common today for a car to have multiple owners and last for 200,000 miles or more, he said.
“That has extended the life cycle of the vehicle and created value for more buyers up and down the chain,” Mr. Campau. “For that second or third or fourth owner, there’s still meat on the bone.”
The rise in average vehicle age doesn’t necessarily mean Americans are forgoing new-vehicle purchases and making do with their current cars longer, Mr. Campau said. New-vehicle sales have been running at a record or near-record pace for years, with the exception of a short-lived drop in the early months of the pandemic last year.
Instead, since cutting back in the financial crisis, more consumers have been adding to their number of household vehicles—buying a third car for the family instead of getting by on two, for example, Mr. Campau said. The total number of vehicles in operation in the U.S. has risen about 10% since 2013, to around 279 million, according to IHS.
The lengthening vehicle age presents an opportunity for dealerships and other companies that sell aftermarket parts for vehicle repairs, such as brakes and tires, Mr. Campau said. Also, more companies are offering aftermarket products to upgrade infotainment systems and other technology in cars, giving owners of older vehicles the ability to connect their phones to the dashboard touch screen, for example.
As cars stay on the roads longer, auto makers are looking to offer digital services and features after the sale to generate recurring revenue, such as adding new apps to multimedia systems or new convenience features such as hands-free driving in some situations.
Motor Co. Chief Executive
has said he wants the company to have an “always-on” connection to Ford’s customers and break the traditional model of selling a car and simply waiting a few years before the owner returns for an upgrade.
“Like with your phone, there will be new features added every hour, every day,” Mr. Farley said in an interview last month. “I think that’s where the real competitive race is.”
Average prices for
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Disney to only require masks on transportation starting Tuesday
Disney announced Friday that vaccinated guests will no longer be required to wear masks at Walt Disney World unless on park transportation. Face coverings will still be required for all Guests on Disney transportation, including Disney buses, monorails, and the Disney Skyliner. “While we will not require proof of vaccination, we expect guests who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations, and upon entering and throughout all attractions and transportation. Guests must observe current policies on face coverings until June 15,” a statement from Disney said. Disney also said it will be adjusting physical distancing guidelines. Disney said the distancing changes will be visible in places like queues, shops, restaurants, attraction boarding, transportation and theaters. A statement from the company also said some experiences and entertainment may still be operating with limited capacity or may remain temporarily unavailable.
ORLANDO, Fla. —
Disney announced Friday that vaccinated guests will no longer be required to wear masks at Walt Disney World unless on park transportation.
Face coverings will still be required for all Guests on Disney transportation, including Disney buses, monorails, and the Disney Skyliner.
“While we will not require proof of vaccination, we expect guests who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations, and upon entering and throughout all attractions and transportation. Guests must observe current policies on face coverings until June 15,” a statement from Disney said.
Disney also said it will be adjusting physical distancing guidelines.
Disney said the distancing changes will be visible in places like queues, shops, restaurants, attraction boarding, transportation and theaters. A statement from the company also said some experiences and entertainment may still be operating with limited capacity or may remain temporarily unavailable.
En español | About 600,000 older adults stop driving each year, according to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a).
That can make it harder for aging or ill loved ones to make doctor’s appointments, shop for necessities, visit family or attend social events. And that increases their isolation, negatively affecting their health and well-being.
Transportation can become one of the biggest responsibilities for family caregivers. About 40 percent of caregivers spend at least five hours a week providing or arranging transport, according to a 2018 survey from the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC), a program administered by n4a and Easterseals that promotes accessible transit.
Providing transportation is not always easy or convenient. “Some family caregivers just can’t leave their job every time somebody needs a ride to the doctor, much less even to the grocery store,” says Virginia Dize, an n4a program director and codirector of the NADTC.
Finding alternatives for times you can’t get your loved one where they need to go likely will require some research. But a variety of options are available that can lessen the burden on caregivers and help older and disabled people keep appointments and stay socially connected.
When you can’t provide a ride
The types of transit available differ widely from location to location, as do opportunities for specialized or discount service.
Metropolitan areas tend to be transportation-rich, with public bus, rail or trolley lines and various commercial options. In small towns and rural regions, you might have to rely on prebooked “demand response” services or volunteer organizations.
In a joint publication on transportation options, NADTC and Eldercare Locator, a federal directory of local services for seniors, list several programs and services geared in varying degrees to helping older and disabled people get around. Remember that not all of these options are available everywhere, but your area is likely to feature at least some.
Primarily bus and rail services, operated and financed by federal, state and local governments, with fixed routes and set schedules, these systems usually offer discounted fares for older adults and people with disabilities. Vouchers may be available as well.
Some transit agencies and local aging or disability organizations provide free training to help riders learn to travel safely. Buses, railcars and stations usually will have accessibility features, but public transit might not be a suitable alternative for people who will have difficulty navigating stairs, waiting outside or walking to and from stops.
Public transit agencies are required by law to provide “complementary paratransit service” for people who are unable to use regular lines. Paratransit operates during the same hours as normal service and covers comparable routes.
Riders must meet eligibility criteria set out in the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Vehicles typically are vans outfitted for accessibility.
Trips should be scheduled at least a day in advance and generally are shared with other passengers who have booked similar times. Paratransit providers typically have a 30-minute pickup window, from 15 minutes before