Just ahead: higher prices for previously owned autos

Get set for higher prices on fuel-efficient pre-owned small cars this summer, as gas prices approach — perhaps exceed — record highs.

Based on an analysis of the correlation between fuel costs and used-car values in recent years, auto research website CarGurus.com says we can expect to see prices on fuel efficient small cars in the resale market to rise at least 10 percent by August over what they commanded in 2011. And that’s on top of already inflated costs because of a continued used-car shortage. “Gas prices have proven a reliable indicator of where used car prices are headed, and consumers in the market for a fuel-efficient used car this year should be mindful of that correlation,” says Langley Steinert, CEO of CarGurus. “The best advice for shoppers is to get ahead of the cycle by buying soon, when they will find the best deals on small, fuel-efficient used cars.”

Alternatively, Steinert advises consumers to wait until the fall and winter months when there is typically less price volatility in the used car marketplace.

— Jim Gorzelany

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