Average Irish car is now 9 years old

New figures from Cartell show that the Irish car fleet is ageing fast

The average age of cars on Irish roads today is nine years

The average age of cars on Irish roads today is nine years


The average age of an Irish car has risen, and risen considerably, according to new figures from Cartell.ie. In spite of the clamour for new cars sales in the past twelve months, between January 2015 and January 2016 the average age of an Irish car rose by 40-days. To put that in perspective, in the preceding 12 months, the average age climbed by just 11 days.

This comes at a time when the size of the national fleet seems to have stagnated. According to the figures, the national car park currently consists of 2.23 million vehicles, identical to the figure recorded in 2015 and that is despite a rise of around 19 per cent in car sales so far this year.

The average age is by far the highest that has been recorded. Back in 2000, when Cartell began taking the figures for the first time, an average Irish car was just 5.1-years old.

According to John Byrne of Cartell.ie: “The age fluctuates throughout the year as cars enter and leave the fleet but analysing the age in January of every year since 2000 shows our cars are still getting older.”

Impact of older fleet

The age of the fleet will have some significant impacts. First off, for the consumer, there is the growing spectre of unreliability. While cars are, without question, better built and more reliable than once they were, research in the UK by ClickMechanic has shown that cam belts, brakes and the clutch are among the top five most common causes for a vehicle breakdown. All three are items that wear and tear over time, and with maintenance often becoming sketchier as a vehicle ages, that can have catastrophic mechanical effects.

Emissions and safety

When it comes to safety and emissions, the differences are even more stark.

According to these figures, the average Irish car will have Co2 emissions of around 140g/km and its emissions of nitrogen oxides, being as it was probably made before the widespread introduction of exhaust after-treatment systems, will be considerably higher.

As for safety, the American National Highway Traffic Safety Authority has estimated that it can take several decades before the newest safety innovations ‘trickle down’ to the rest of the national vehicle fleet. With Irish cars getting older and older on average, that trickle down is going to slow almost to a stop.