Why Are Used Cars So Expensive Right Now
Don't let rising car prices keep you from buying your next car or truck.

Why Are Used Cars So Expensive Right Now

If you’ve shopped for a used car lately, you’re likely wondering, “Why are used cars so expensive?” The answer in a word is “pandemic.” According to Business Insider, increased used car prices are directly related to new car prices that are taking a hit during the pandemic. It’s hard to believe used car prices could be so severely impacted by something as small as a microchip, but that’s what has happened.

Because of the pandemic, microchips are in short supply. That shortage has reduced the supply of new cars and created higher new car prices that impact used car prices. How much more expensive are new and used cars right now? In mid-summer of 2021, the new car inventory levels were down by over 50 percent vs. the same time in 2019.

The production decline and higher price tags have continued this winter. Kelly Blue Book reported that the average new car price in November was more than $46,000—an increase of almost $5400 in the last year. And if there’s one thing we know, when new car prices skyrocket, used car prices are sure to follow.

Used Car Prices Are At An All-Time High

Pre-pandemic, December was typically the best time of year to buy a car, but not in 2021. During the winter holidays, dealers feel the crunch of meeting quotas and getting rid of inventory before the new model year rolls out. While there are still deals to be made, they are far and few between because of the short supply and high demand. And even though used car prices have risen alongside new car prices, buying a used car still makes sense.

Car buyers should be concerned that some used cars have increased in price faster than new cars. The recent average used car price is hovering just under the $28,000 mark! That’s a 13 percent increase over last year and a whopping 41 percent increase over the same time of year in 2019.

Add in that much of the current used-car inventory consists of more expensive options, and you may be thinking you need a motorcycle instead! There’s not much good news to report regarding car prices, but you can learn how to buy a used car and get a good deal even in uncertain times.

What Rising Used Car Prices Mean For You

Yes, rising prices mean you’ll be spending more, but it’s also essential to consider the upside. After all, when it’s time to get another car, you have to buy something, so why not get the biggest bang for your buck. The average used car price may seem out of reach for many, but there are still plenty of reliable and attractive used cars you can drive for under $20,000.

Because used car prices rise along with new car prices, that also means trade-in values are at an all-time high. It’s no small consolation to realize that your trade-in is likely worth more right now than it will ever be. Think positive and get your trade-in in tip-top shape to take some of the bite out of those rising prices. While the supply of new and used cars grows thin, dealerships are hungry to get their hands on good trade-ins like yours.

Another positive is that a recent model used car will likely last you a long time—much longer than cars built 20 or even ten years ago. Thanks to advancements in the manufacturing process, safety features, and fuel economy, the average age of vehicles on U.S. roadways is 12 years. As long as a car’s longevity increases along with the high prices, that’s not such a bad trade-off after all.

And just because you’re buying a used car doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the bells and whistles. Cars produced over the last decade are not only more reliable, but many of them also come equipped with desirable features. You’ll find that even moderately priced used cars can often have the latest infotainment tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Apps. Up-to-date ADAS technology, comfortable interiors, and smooth suspensions are also usually part of the package too.

Don’t let rising car prices keep you from buying your next car or truck. Car Time Supercenter in Tucson understands the ups and downs of the used car market—and we know how important finding an affordable, desirable, quality vehicle is to our customers. We’ll help you find a car you’ll love at a price you can afford, no matter how turbulent the car market is.

Check out our extensive inventory to find popular, late-model used cars and trucks in Tucson, Arizona. When you’re ready to find the best value in a used car, contact us for high-quality, well-maintained pre owned cars and trucks. Shop online, stop by the dealership, or call us at (888) 557-4326 to find the best fit for you.

Shane Vossough

There are good reasons people will buy their next used car in Tucson from Car Time Supercenter. But I think we are one of the most trusted used car dealerships mainly because we treat everyone like family. My family has provided quality, dependable local used cars to Tucson customers since 1984, and I'm proud to be a part of our continued success. Like many family-owned businesses, I grew up going to work with my dad. Falling in love with cars was natural because of my father's passion, and eventually, I came to love the car business just like him. I officially joined the Car Time Supercenter team in 2012, starting in the finance department. Over the past decade, I've learned the used car business and how to treat customers from my family and industry resources. Today, I oversee marketing, social media, inventory, and reconditioning, so I play an essential role in delivering local Tucson used car buyers the best experience possible. I also help our family business keep up with the times while providing old-fashioned customer service. From attending NADA classes to becoming Allstate certified for back-end products, I continue to learn and add skills to serve our customers better.