With gas prices taking a bigger bite out of the family budget than in recent years, consumers have been salving their pain at the pump by snapping up energy-efficient used electric and hybrid-powered models in record numbers, which have in turn caused their transaction prices to skyrocket.
As it is, used-car prices in general have risen by an average of nearly 11 percent over the past year, due largely to ongoing supply shortages on the new-car side of a dealer’s lot. But that’s pocket change compared to used electric vehicle prices, which vaulted by 56.7 percent over the last 12 months. Meanwhile, hybrid and plug-in hybrid prices rose by a still hefty 30.5 percent. That’s based on an analysis of over 1.8 million used car sales conducted in July by the online automotive marketplace iSeeCars.com.
It doesn’t take a degree in economics to figure out why some of the most-frugal rides on the road are commanding premium prices. Even with gas prices having slipped to just under $4.00 per gallon in recent weeks (it’s about $4.70 for premium) according to the AAA, regular-grade fuel still tops out near or over $5.00 in a half-dozen states. By comparison, it cost a national average of $2.24 per gallon in July 2020.
Of the 10 used vehicles iSeeCars.com says have seen the steepest price increases over the past year, three are electric and five are hybrids (plus one fuel-efficient subcompact model and a sporty luxury SUV). The battery-powered Nissan Leaf went from being the poster child of rapid depreciation a year ago to the used car having the heftiest price increase at a whopping 48.3 percent. That comes out to a $8,563 boost, and at an average transaction price of $28,093, makes a used Leaf costlier than a new one, which starts at $27,800 and looks like it will remain eligible for the one-time $7,500 federal tax credit granted to new-EV buyers.
Are the higher prices worth it? With new-vehicle supplies still being razor-thin, some hybrid and EV shoppers may have little choice other than shop among a dealer’s pre-owned inventory. At that, the EPA says the Nissan Leaf with its standard 40 kWh battery pack will cost an average $600 to rack up 15,000 miles annually in city/highway combined driving, which is an estimated $8,250 less over a five year period than it would take to keep the average new vehicle running at current gas prices and electricity rates.
Otherwise, iSeeCars.com says that the hatchbacks, sedans, and wagons that automakers have been throwing to the curb as they move to SUV-heavy fleets have seen used-car price jumps at 16 to 17.8 percent over the past year. Pre-owned SUV prices are up by 11.5 percent, while pickup trucks rose by just 1.7 percent.
Among the 10 used models the website says have seen the slimmest price increases, fully half of them are pickup trucks, led by the Nissan Titan, which saw a two percent drop in value over the past year. The full-size Nissan Armada SUV’s transaction prices beat all comers by falling an average 7.4 percent since July, 2021.
New York City residents paid the biggest hikes in used-vehicle prices over the past 12 months at 18.1 percent, followed by the San Francisco metro area at 16 percent, and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale at 15.7 percent. At the other end of the spectrum, used-vehicle costs in Oklahoma City are 1.5 percent cheaper than they were a year ago.
These are the used vehicles iSeeCars.com says have experienced the greatest increases over the past year, with their average selling prices and representative percentages noted:
- Nissan Leaf: $28,093 (+43.8%)
- Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: $26,098 (+43.0%)
- Toyota Prius: $29,679 (+36.9%)
- Toyota Prius Prime: $33,005 (+34.4%)
- Toyota Avalon Hybrid: $38,544 (+32.4%)
- Chevrolet Bolt EV: $28,910 (+30.2%)
- Fiat 500x: $21,407 (+29.2%)
- Tesla Model S: $82,492 (+27.3%)
- Porsche Cayenne: $76,546 (+26.9%)
- Lexus ES 300h: $44,613 (+26.8%)
You can read the full report here.