Higher Gas Prices Mean Used Hybrids Are Again a Hot Commodity

In recent years there have been few better indicators that Americans are feeling pain at the pump than the resale values of used hybrids. Last spring, used Prius sales rose 51.5 percent in less than three months, in response to a 25-cent increase in gas prices. Now, with the average price of a gallon gas up more than 50 cents since New Years, used car buyers are again flocking to pre-owned gas-electrics for relief.

According to Kelley Blue Book, the average value of a used hybrid at auction jumped 6 percent during the month of February alone. As reported by Autoblog Green, a KBB press release today warned used car sellers of a coming run on used hybrid inventories, predicting a possible 20-percent price increase by year’s end. “Dealers have been aggressively bidding on fuel-efficient vehicles at auction as consumer demand increases,” read the release. “Kelley Blue Book advises dealers to stock up on inventory sooner rather than later, since values likely will increase sharply during the next 30 to 60 days.”

The nationwide average price of a gallon of regular unleaded now stands at $3.87 according to the EIA’s fuel price index website―up 3 percent over last year’s levels. On the west coast, drivers are paying average of almost $4.20 per gallon.

Increased popularity of affordable hybrids has also been reflected in sky-high demand for Toyota’s latest hybrid release, the Prius c. The baby of the Prius family elicited orders exceeding 10 times its planned monthly production target since hitting the market in Japan, and one Toyota dealership in Miami has reportedly been charging a $7,000 markup on the car in response to high demand.

New hybrids on the whole did very well in February, up more than 35 percent over 2011 levels, and by all indications, March’s numbers are likely to again be impressive.

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  • bob conner

    Yes easing tensions with Iran will help lower the price,
    Do I believe we need to eliminate the tax credits on Oil Companies, “YES” but I do believe this will also effect the price of gas in a negative manner. The reason is that this will re-enforce the negative image our President has against Big Oil and the speculators will run with this. (this action needs to be done when gas prices are low not now). Again our Gov’t has a direct effect on the price of gas and for the last 3 years with the added regulation has not helped.
    Being upset over the price of gas I made up a Gas Quiz and lets see how many answers you get right. Have fun with it.

  • Roy_H

    The real market for economy cars, hybrids, and EVs is in the cost conscious low wage earners. We cannot buy a new car and so are stuck with what ever we can find on the used market. People who can afford new cars don’t generally care as much about economy, but want room, luxury, maybe towing capacity etc. There is a huge demand for economical cars, just not for new economical cars. So how do car manufacturers access this market?

    I’m thinking that maybe M-B’s Car-to-Go is the new model. They are making a huge success of what I think is a relatively horrible little car the Smart4Two. The point is that the people who rent these cars don’t care how good it is, just that they can get from A to B in the most convenient economical way.

    Some of these rental plans focus on electric cars, and the idea is to leave the car at a place where it is plugged in for the next user.

    When these cars are about 3 years old they will appear on the used market, so this will be out chance to buy.

  • simon@syd

    The series2 prius has been round long enough to dispel battery concrrns now. Maybe the next gas ‘crisis’ will see much more interrest in hybrids.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    I haven’t been on the KBB site since this time last year after the Japanese tsunami when I checked the value of my 2nd gen Prius.

    I haven’t lost a dime in depreciation. In fact, it’s resale value is up $300. It’s the first time I’ve ever owned a car that has gained in value YoY.

  • The anonymous

    Unfortunately, I failed to see the connection between higher gas price in the U.S. and the sales success of Prius c in Japan. I believe the (larger) Prius has been the sales leader in that country for quite a while.

  • Anonymous

    One reason that more consumers aren’t buying used hybrids is simply because of the cost to service and maintain the vehicles that aren’t under warranty. There’s a company, Go-Green Auto Centers, that is teaching independent shops how to fix these cars on a large basis…..This is going to give the average consumer the ability to purchase hybrids used rather than new, and pay small costs to fix and maintain the cars….great article, it seems as if the perception of AFV’s change from week to week but in the end it all seems to make sense to go green.

  • ktosek

    I would be afraid to buy used hybrid cars usługi fotograficzne łódź

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