KBB: Used car prices will fall over summer

June 14, 2011 12:00 AM

Used car prices have gone through the roof this year, thanks in part to the high cost of fuel and the Japanese earthquake causing tight inventories for dealers. Fortunately for those in the market for a used vehicle, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) believes that the prices have hit their peak and will be coming down in the near future.

According to the used car pricing guide, the average cost for a model is up 22 percent as compared to last year, or nearly $2,200. Hybrids, which are typically more expensive, cost about $3,000 more than they did in 2010, mostly because drivers are prioritizing fuel efficiency.

Yet as the price of gas goes down, so will the demand for these cars. The Energy Information Administration recently reported that the average cost for a gallon of gas is $3.71, which comes after five straight weeks of decreases. If prices continue to drop, KBB sees the cost of used cars falling by 5 percent by the end of the summer.

"Our advice to dealers and consumers is to shop with caution today, since values are likely to fall through the early part of summer," Alec Gutierrez, manager of vehicle valuation for Kelley Blue Book, told USA Today. "If possible, it would be best to hold off on purchasing a fuel-efficient vehicle until after summer, when values should be more stable."

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