There are more than 250 million used cars on the road in the United States and every year, close to 40 million of those used cars change hands. Used-car sales volumes typically dwarf new-car sales. But how does the fleet of used cars for sale look in different parts of the country? We analyzed our database of more than 3 million current classifieds from different providers plus outside data sources to create this snapshot--the United States of Used Cars.
New versus used: While the new-car market is averaging about 14 million units over the past five years (and is on pace for 16 million sales this year, based on recent volumes), the used-car market towers above it, with roughly 40 million cars sold each year. Of those, many are sold by private parties, but a sizable percentage are sold through some of the 45,000 independent used-car dealerships--or sold as certified pre-owned vehicles through the nearly 18,000 new-car dealers in the U.S.
Used-car prices: In our snapshot, the average list price of a used car is $19,741.44. By state, you may find better bargains in Michigan, where the average price is lowest, at $16,489.
Where you'll find the oldest--and newest--used cars: The average car on America's roads today is more than 11 years old. When it comes time to buy a used car, that becomes an important fact, since used-car ages and prices are at a high. You'll find the oldest used cars in the District of Columbia, where the average used car is 8 years old; the youngest used cars come from West Virginia and Arkansas, at 3.9 years old.
Average mileage, by state: In some states, long commuting and traveling distances mean a lot of miles racked up quickly. The states with the highest average miles on used cars are in the west: South Dakota tops the list, at nearly 80,000 miles average for all used cars on sale. The lowest-mileage cars? They're found in Alaska, which has few roads to connect its major cities, and a state capital best reached by air or by boat.
Most popular brands: The nameplates you'll see on used cars most often are no mystery. The best-selling vehicle in America for the past 33 years, the Ford F-150, is also the best-selling used vehicle in 22 states. Chevrolet is the best seller in 19 states with two different models, while the Honda Accord tops the used-car sales charts in seven states.
[Related slideshow: Top used cars across the 50 states]