Value of used Toyota Prius hybrids goes up due to rising gasoline prices

Article by Anita Panait, on March 13, 2012

With gasoline prices continuing to rise, more and more people are now looking for vehicles that do not consume much petrol. Following the law of supply and demand with regards to prices, it is only logical that due to the high demand of hybrid cars and other low-fuel-consuming vehicles, their prices are also bound to increase.

That is recently proven true by the price of the late-model used Toyota Prius hybrids. Because of the rising gasoline prices, the demand for used Toyota Prius hybrids went up, also taking their prices up. According to Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights at Kelley Blue Book, the prices of used 2009-11 Priuses jumped $500 to $750 in the past month or so.

As an example, he said that a 2010 Prius had an average price of about $17,200 in late February, an increase of $700 from $16,500 in late January.  Gutierrez added that the 2010 Prius price would have increased only about $100 or had been flat if fuel prices were stable and it is now priced at around $3.15 a gallon.

“I would say that fuel prices have already increased the value of the Prius," Gutierrez said. The effect of rising gasoline prices is expected to affect the prices of other vehicles, particularly small cars and large trucks, although the situation calls for another scenario.

According to NADA Used Car Guide, if gasoline prices jump to $4-$5 a gallon, prices of small used cars are bound to increase.

The NADA Used Car Guide had recorded Prius models jumping an average of $450 a week for four weeks in a row. However, with gasoline prices hovering around $3.73 a gallon, there had been no movement yet on the prices of either the compact cars or full-sized pickups

Dave Wagner, senior manager of analytics at NADA Used Car Guide, agrees but expects prices of other used vehicles to follow Prius’ tracks sooner.

“Depending on how swiftly gasoline prices rise and the amount of media attention the rise gets, the impact on used-vehicle prices spreads out over the course of a month,” Wagner said, remarking that reaction is based on consumer expectation of the cost of fuel in the future. Wagner noted that consumer expectation takes a while to change.

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