Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


AFTER 33 YEARS OF DRIVING the world’s most exotic cars, my current car continues to be exceptional, by several measures at least. This 2012 Honda Crosstour is some 2.6 years younger than the average car on U.S. roads. 

My Honda Crosstour in 2012. Today it’s not quite as spiffy, but it has been satisfying transportation.

The Crosstour’s odometer currently reads 27,926, meaning I’ve driven the car on average only 2660 miles each year. The average California car travels 12,524 mile/year. Here’s amplification of these and other interesting vehicular statistics. 

Average Age. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics keeps track of such things.

Image from U.S. Dept. of Transportation Bureau of Statistics.

Ages of passenger cars and light trucks have experienced a gentle rise in the past 22 years, with car age diverging a bit in the latest data. Tom Krisher offers a reason for this in AP News, May 15, 2023: “Blame it mainly on the pandemic, which in 2020 triggered a global shortage of automotive computer chips, the vital component that runs everything from radios to gas pedals to transmissions. The shortage drastically slowed global assembly lines, making new vehicles scarce on dealer lots just when consumers were increasingly eager to buy.”

Krisher continues, “Prices reached record highs. And though they’ve eased somewhat, the cost of a vehicle still feels punishingly expensive to many Americans, especially when coupled with now much-higher loan rates.”

Average Prices. Sebastian Blanco reports in Car and Driver, April 16, 2023: “Average New Car Price Actually Drops, But It’s Still Over $48,000.” This recent drop is a rarity: “It’s almost two years,” Blanco says, “since it last happened.” 

Blanco writes, “It’s been a while—20 months, to be exact—but the average price of a new car is once again below the official sticker price. For almost two years now, the average new car price has kept climbing and climbing, assisted by plenty of dealer markups that regularly reminded us that car shopping is a perfectly good way to get frustrated on a Saturday. But, according to data from Kelley Blue Book, the average new-car buyer paid less than the sticker price in March.

Price Trends. “Where we go from here is the big question,” Blanco says. “The head of sales for Toyota North America, Jack Hollis, said in March that he expects new-car prices to top an average price of $50,000 sometime in 2023. That doesn’t seem outlandish, given December’s ATP of $49,501.”

Blanco explains, “Understanding how new vehicle prices are changing means breaking them down by category. The average new luxury vehicle, for example, cost $65,202 last month, effectively even with the February number. Prices for electric vehicles are headed up slightly, with an average price of $58,940 in March. It was $313 lower in February. The average price for a non-luxury vehicle in March was $44,182 and has been on a downward trend since January.” 

Average Miles. Given my Crosstour’s 28K miles, I’m not likely to be in the new car market. Susan Meyer cites data from the Federal Highway Administration in The Zebra, March 27, 2023. “In the past 40 years,” Meyer says, “the number of miles Americans collectively drive has increased from 1.5 trillion to 3.2 trillion miles: That’s more than twice as much driving with a population only 1.5 times as large.” 

Who Drives the Most—and Where? “The average miles driven per year by Americans has now reached a total of 14,263 miles,” Meyer says. 

However, she notes: “For instance, while populous California accounts for 340 billion miles driven each year—more than any other state—the average driver only covers 12,500 miles annually, less than the nationwide average. On the other hand, Oklahoma posts just 44 billion miles each year (85 percent less than California), but each driver averages 17,700 miles, far more than the average American.”

“Men drive around 6000 miles per year more than women on average,” Meyer says, “and after retirement drivers post around 30 percent fewer miles per year.” 

For me, it’s around 79 percent fewer. But there are sure good memories of some great drives. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2023 


  1. Mike Scott
    May 17, 2023

    Well understand your affection for your decade-old Crosstour. LJK Setright’s two favorite marques were Chrysler (of yore) and Honda. Preferring my early ’70s 10-speed Nishiki Sport–same lovely color as your ’12 Crosstour — unless raining or serious shopping, when i drive my 116,000-mile ’02 stick Civic EX coupe.

    Only hitch w/ Hondas are the need to remember to replace their timing belts every 80,000 or so miles, they being interference engines, unlike my girlfriend’s slick little 98,000-mile ’01 Miata.

  2. Mike B
    May 17, 2023

    The only Honda I ever had was a ’94 Accord LX. Engine was fine. Transaxle (not just CV joints) fell apart at about 80K and fixing it was going to cost as much as the car was worth as a tradein on a year-old used Camry. Bingo.

    I’ve had better luck on the whole with the Major Mechanicals in Toyotas. Maintenance is still required, sometimes major. I have a bill coming due for struts in a ’14 Prius (almost 10 years old, just over 100K miles) – $1500-3000 depending on whether I do just front or all 4, and where it’s done. Plus probably another $500 for changing transmission and brake fluid if the dealer does it. In a car with a KBB tradein value of about $8500. Still, it’s worth fixing because it’s still less than 1/2 the car’s value, and the only really interesting replacement vehicle (a base Prius Prime, new model) is well over $30K MSRP and well over $40K at a dealer (that would let me trade in both the old Prius and a 17 Bolt (recall replaced the big battery about 6 months ago, with an 8 yr/100K warranty on the new one), leaving us with one car using the charger I installed in the garage for the Bolt, but it’s still a Bill Too Big to pay right now).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: