Because of improvements in the longevity of passenger cars, the median age of the automobile fleet in the United States has increased significantly, from 7.0 years in 1992 to 8.4 years in 2002. The median age of the truck fleet,1 by contrast, began to increase in the early 1990s but has been declining since 1997 as new purchases of light trucks have increased substantially (figure 90). As a result, the truck median age of 6.8 years in 2002 is less than its 7.2 years in 1990.
The age of transit vehicle fleets varies by transit and vehicle type (figure 91). Ferryboats became substantially older between 1990 and 2000, increasing from an average of 21.7 years to 25.6 years. By contrast, the average age of full-size transit buses decreased over this period from 8.2 years to 8.1 years .
The age of fleets as a measure of condition is not very precise. Because of the different characteristics of vehicle fleets across the modes—some serving freight and other passenger, some owned predominantly by businesses, and others by individuals—the measure varies widely.
1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2002 (Washington, DC: 2002), tables 1-25 and 1-28, also available at http://www.bts.gov/, as of June 2003.
1 This includes all truck categories: light, heavy, and heavy-heavy.