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Car census shows vehicles living longer

The average age of cars and light trucks reached a record high last year.

February 15, 2006; Posted: 11:58 a.m. EST (1658 GMT)

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - It's true, they don't build them like they used to. And it's probably a good thing. Cars are lasting longer than ever, according to new data from R.L. Polk and Company, a firm that provides vehicle population data for the auto industry.

The median age of passenger vehicles in the United States last year was nine years

"Light vehicles are on the road longer today than they have ever been," said Dave Goebel, a consultant for Polk's Aftermarket Solutions, in a company announcement. "As vehicle durability and technology continues to improve each year, we expect the trend of increased vehicle longevity to continue."

Ten years ago, the average vehicle age was 7.5 years.

In 2005, 34.8 percent of passenger vehicles on American roads were 11 years old or older, compared to 29.1 percent in 1996.

Last year, 4.3 percent of all passenger cars and light trucks were destroyed for scrap metal and parts. That matches the lowest scrappage rate ever recorded, a record set in 1949.

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