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How Long do You Keep a Car? Americans are Driving Them into the Ground

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Your car's odometer showing 50,000 miles? It's barely broken in. 100,000 miles? Put the pedal to the medal; she's in her prime. Americans are keeping their vehicles longer than ever before. As of 2012, the average age of cars, vans, trucks and SUVs clocked in at just over 11 years. How's your '03 Camry holding up?

Also See: Your Car Reveals Your Credit Score

Analysis of data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that while we're continuing to own the same number of vehicles, we're holding on to them longer. The share of newer vehicles on the road -- those manufactured within the last five years -- has dropped by nearly 33% from 2007 to 2012, while vehicles 11 years and older grew by 25% during the same period.

Also See: Here Are the Year's Greenest Cars

For households that reported getting rid of a vehicle during 2012, the average age of the vehicle sold was 15 years, the average age of a vehicle donated or given away was 14 years old, and the average vehicle traded in was nine years old – perhaps one reason why "push, pull or drag" car dealer commercials are so popular.

Roughly one-third of all vehicles in the survey were paid for in part by a trade-in, allowing a typical credit of 32% toward the net purchase price of the new vehicle.

Perhaps no surprise: households headed by individuals under the age of 25 and over the age of 65 had the highest average vehicle age (just over 11 years old).

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