The number of cars on American roads is on the rise, but it hasn't reached historic levels.

The number of cars and trucks on American highways and byways has increased for the first time since 2008, but that doesn't mean that the economy is out of the woods just yet.

According to researchers at Michigan-based Polk, there are 240.5 million cars registered for use on roads in the United States, the highest number since before the economic recession began in 2009.

While that figure might seem like a positive for the American economy, the average age of vehicles continues to rise, which means that buyers are simply holding onto their cars longer rather than buying new ones.

In part, the decrease in new car purchases can be explained by rapid advancements in vehicle reliability, but it's also a sign that buyers are less inclined to make major purchases.

The overall new car sales market is still more than 1 million vehicles below what it was in the mid-2000s and there are still about 1.5 million fewer cars on the road than in July of 2008 when a record of 242 million vehicles was set.


1.'U.S. auto fleet...' view