Driving is, for many reasons, becoming a costly and challenging undertaking — gas prices are rising, car prices are increasing and, even for those willing to shell out those big bucks, buying one is often far from easy.
The build-up to the current crisis is both immediate and years in the making. A shortage of semiconductors, or the microchip that is used in cars for everything from light sensors to displays, have put serious limits on how much and what kinds of cars are currently available.
Why Is Driving So Expensive?
When the COVID-19 outbreak hit the United States, the situation was only exacerbated by disruptions to the supply chain — many parts necessary to build cars were not shipped in time or even at all and, as some reported, people were being placed on months-long waitlists for popular models.
In February, drivers took one more hit when the world was forced to react to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine As much of the world is dependent on Russian oil, boycotts and sanctions have sent the price of gas skyrocketing. It was, according to AAA data, $4.242 a gallon on Tuesday.
It then comes as no surprise that driving is starting to burn a bigger and bigger hole in many people’s pockets. But while gas is a consistent concern for anyone who drives, a major expense is also the purchase of that first car.
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While buying used was once an option for those looking to save money, used cars in particular are seeing a dramatic spike in price — the average price for a nine-year-old car is now up 43% from last year.
Which Cars Cost More Used Than New?
And since some car models are now simply unavailable without a months-long waiting list, many lightly-used versions are now significantly more valuable than old ones. Last month, vehicle search-engine iSeeCars put together a list of 15 cars that cost more used than new.
The most stark difference was the Mercedes-Benz G-Class which starts at $131,750 for a new model. Lightly used, the same car cost 35.6%, or $62,705 more, in January. At $63,000, the Chevrolet Corvette cost 20.2% or $16,645 more used. A used version of Tesla’s Model 3 also asked for 17.8%, or $8,300, more than the $46,990 market price.
The prices are, however, so drastic for a few select and in-demand models. Out of the cars analyzed by iSeeCars, an average used model cost only 1.3% or $553 more than the new version.
“After coming down slightly in February, used car prices remain elevated due to lingering supply constraints, and they are expected to rise again due to geopolitical factors as Russia is a key supplier of materials used to make car parts and microchips, iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer said in a statement.