According to information published in a survey conducted on behalf of the motor manufacturing industry, the average age of a car on the roads of Spain is 11.5 years, far older than the European average, and older than what is considered to offer the optimum in safety, performance and efficiency.
In fact, the data reveals that 29% of all cars on the roads of Spain are between 11 and 15 years and 24% are over 15 years of age.
Despite incentives by the Spanish government to encourage trading in old cars for new with a sizeable discount, the average age has actually increased by two months from the average of 2014.
The financial crisis has left many families struggling to get by, and so the purchase of a new car has not been apriority for many despite the subsidy available.
At present, there are more than eleven million drivers in Spain who have vehicles older than 10 years, a figure which places Spain as the country with the oldest fleet in the five major European markets of Germany, UK, France and Italy.
The age of cars on Spanish roads has been slowly declining, but there was a dramatic increase which coincided with the financial cr5isis. In 2008, the average age was 8.89 years, in 2009 it was 9.3 years old, in 2010 it was 9.73 years, and by 2011 the 10 year old benchmark was exceeded, reaching a life of 10.26 years. In 2012, the average age was 10.83 years and in 2013, the 11 year old age was passed, reaching an average of 11.34 years of age.
Since 2013, the growth has continued, although by an insignificant amount, and so it is hoped that the trend has stabilised, although even at the current rate of aging, it is believed that by 2017 there will be over 16 million older cars on the roads, a considerable worry when statistically, the older the car, the more likely it seem to be involved in a serious incident.
In a study by RACE in collaboration with Bosch, in a test of impact between two vehicles with a difference of 20 years, the newer vehicle occupants suffered serious but not fatal injuries, whereas the occupants of the older car were killed in the staged collision.
RACE explained that the chances of an accident increase in proportion to the age of the vehicle and that the risk of dying in the accident is also directly related to age it.
The study indicates that, in an accident on a motorway, in a car which is less than four years old, the fatality rate is 1 death per 74 incidents. In the case of a car over 15 years of age, the ratio is 1 death for every 36 incidents. On conventional roads, the death rate is 1 fatality in every 41 incidents in newer cars, and 1 death in every 19 incidents in older vehicles.
According to the study of Race and Bosch, the chance of dying in a traffic incident triples in cars older than 10 years, whereas the other benefit is that a new vehicle consumes 30% less fuel and emits 95% less than an old one.
In terms of the subsidy available for new cars, the Spanish government has their own way of encouraging the owners to trade in for a newer vehicle, under the scheme Plan PIVE.
Currently in its Plan PIVE 8 incarnation, the scheme offers handsome subsidies and is in operation right now, having been launched from the 2nd of March, 2015, for a period of 12 months, or until the funds have run out, from the total of 175 million euro allocated.
Not only is the aim to ensure improvements in safety, as newer cars have evolved to include features which offer more protection, they are also more fuel efficient, and so emissions and pollution are also reduced.
In fact, if the objective 885,000 old vehicles are replaced with new and more efficient models, the drivers will save around 308 million litres of fuel annually, preventing the importation of 1,961,542 barrels of oil per year.
In order to satisfy the requirements, your choice of car will have to be new and registered in Spain, and of the M1 category, which is a passenger car with up to 9 seats, including the driver, or category N1, a light commercial vehicle with a maximum weight of 3.5 tonnes. There are other restrictions applicable too, including a maximum price of the car, but the majority of normal, everyday vehicles will be eligible.
One of the key benefits is that the subsidy is discounted directly at the point of purchase, with garages all fully briefed on the requirements and discounts available, and happy to help you satisfy the requirements, including a certificate of destruction (Certificado de Destrucción), proof of deregistration with the DGT (justificante de baja definitiva en la DGT), your last road tax receipt (IVTM o Impuesto de Circulación) dated no earlier than 2014, and a valid ITV.
The discount awarded is 1,000 euro from the government, plus another 1,000 euro added by the vehicle manufacturer or importer, thus totalling 2,000 euro off the list price. However, in certain circumstances, the grant can reach a total of 3,000 euro.