Used car sticker shock: Prices up 30 percent

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email

NORTH PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Used car dealers are reporting as much as a 30 percent spike in prices.

At the used car section of Earl Stewart Toyota, a 1998 Toyota is being advertised for $3,800.

Last year, that beater would have gone for far less.

The problem is supply and demand. The demand for used cars is still high in the great recession, but the supply is low after the Federal Cash For Clunkers program which gave consumers incentives to scrap old cars for new ones.

Many of the cars that would have gone to used car dealers ended up in the junkyard.

With so few used vehicles available, Earl Stewart, owner of the dealership, says people who just need a set of old wheels to get around will have a tough time finding much under $10,000.

In fact, the average price of a 3-year-old used car is up over 10 percent to $19,000 according to

"People need cars very badly, and if they can only afford a $3,000 or $4,000 car, there are so few out there. If they do find one they end up paying through the nose," said Stewart.

Certain models of sport utility vehicles, crossovers and minivans have seen the highest price hike at 30 percent, including the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Suburban, Dodge Grand Caravan, and Acura MDX.

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