What’s Up with Car Prices?
And what do you do if you need one now?
The price of used cars has gone up 40% just since last year! Additionally, the fuel cost is rising every day, with prices soaring to $5.57 in California (at the time, I’m writing this blog post in March 2022) and climbing daily! Inflation is rising at a rate not seen since 1982!
What do all of you do who are driving around beater cars or simply looking for an upgrade? I mean, you work hard, go to school, and want a nice ride, right? Well, not so fast…
The President suggests everyone go out and get an electric car as a possible solution to the crazy gas prices. Uh, yeah, we’ll rush right out and do that, Mr. President. The average cost of an electric car right now is $56,437, according to Consumerreports.com. Now, keep in mind that you need a place to plug it in since you can’t charge it on the street or in your driveway.
The average cost of a new car right now is $47,000. If you’re willing to settle for a 1–5-year-old car, you’ll be looking at something like $35,000. That is absolutely insane! Lauren Fix, known as the “Car Coach,” suggests keeping the car you have and maintaining it until things settle down. When will that be? Well, the short answer is, “Who knows!” Between supply issues, the conflict in Ukraine (they supply our nickel for batteries), the rubber shortage, and chip shortages in China (who also is not exactly our ally), you can see that the future of car sales is very important shaky.
On top of all of these issues, the demand is up. Many people are still buying cars, and 83% of those consumers are paying way over sticker price! 83% more!
Where does that leave you? Here are some valid options to consider before buying a new car and getting totally gouged…
Car Prices are Insane! What Options Do I Have Besides Getting Gouged on a New or Used Car Right Now?
1. FIX YOUR CURRENT VEHICLE: Perfect example: I know a guy who has a 2008 Toyota Prius with 208,000 miles on it. Rather than getting hosed on a newer car during all this mess, he put $1400 into repairing the significant issues it had, leaving some of the minor problems go for now. He put more into the car than it’s worth. Smart or stupid? Smart! The car gets 45 miles per gallon, so he's going to save a TON on gas compared to most other cars he’d get to replace the Prius. Additionally, if he financed a new vehicle, he’d be required to have full coverage auto insurance rather than the liability he has now at a fraction of the cost. Lastly, he won’t have a huge car payment to deal with, allowing him to free up hundreds per month (and maybe put that toward a car later on when prices simmer down).
2. RIDESHARING: If you don’t drive a ton, utilizing ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft can save you a lot of money while you wait for car prices to stabilize. Read this article for 10 Best Ridesharing Apps to try out.
3. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Obviously, taking the subway or bus isn’t ideal (especially on a date), but again, we’re looking for ways to avoid getting gouged during an unprecedented hike in inflation. It’s not forever, and it’s just a way to ride out (no pun intended) the storm until things get back to normal.
4. BIKING: If you can ride a bike (or scooter or skateboard) to work or school, this will save you a lot of money so you can get the car you really want when prices return to normal.
5. CARPOOL: This is an option even if you don’t have a car right now. You can ask a coworker, family member, friend, or fellow student to hop in their vehicle for regular lifts and give them gas money. Even if you give them more than you think is totally fair, it’s a way to avoid taking on a $350+ a month car payment right now or paying well over the sticker price for a used vehicle.
6. ORDER MORE ONLINE: Anymore, you can have a lot more than just pizza delivered. Depending on where you live, you can have medicine, your dry cleaning, groceries, and really just about anything delivered for a reasonable fee. That will save you having to go out so often and use up gas, put wear and tear on a vehicle, and fight traffic. It’s a win-win!
7. BORROW SOMEONE’S CAR: Can you borrow someone’s care once in a while and gas it up for them? It’s still going to save you tons of money in the long run. Maybe plan to consolidate your trips, so you only need to borrow a car once a week (or less) and don’t become a pain in the neck. I’m pretty sure if you don’t take advantage of this, the person might be glad to get an occasional free tank of gas with prices being what they are right now!
8. WALK: I saved this for last because I realize it’s kind of insulting. It’s so obvious. But what kind of list would it be if I left it off altogether? So, yeah, when you can walk, walk. It’s not reasonable to walk everywhere, especially if you don’t live on campus or in a city. I get it. But, as I keep saying, we’re just looking for quick fixes to deal with what is probably safe to call a crisis.
Good luck, and remember, just because these places are charging so much doesn’t mean you have to pay it! It stands to reason that prices should eventually return to normal. In the meantime, what other ways can you think of to avoid being gouged when it comes to gas and car buying?