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Fuel-Efficient Used Car Prices Dropping for Summer

Kelley Blue BookKelley Blue Book Reports Values on Fuel Efficient Autos Dropping

You read that right: the prices of fuel-efficient compact, subcompact, and hybrid cars are actually dropping this summer after 20 weeks of consecutive gains, Kelley Blue Book reports [kbb.com].The drop in fuel-efficient car values coincides with a drop in gas prices, of course. Gasoline hit a peak in May when the national average was $3.98. Gas prices have dropped every week in June, with a national average on June 20 of $3.65 [EIA.gov]

While fuel-efficient used cars on the market this month can likely be bought for less cash than they could in January 2011, they’re still holding their value pretty well overall. Kelly Blue Book published valuation change numbers for cars built 2008-2010 and found that compact, subcompact, and hybrid used car values are still up 20 percent over last year. The industry average is only up 5 percent.

So yes, values have dropped a bit for the first time in 2011, which is good news for anyone shopping for a gas-sipping used car. But the year-over-year change shows that shoppers are still willing to pay up for a late-model used car with a high miles-per-gallon rating from the EPA.

If gas prices are dropping, why are these cars still in demand?  Because while the price at the pump has decreased significantly in the last month, it’s gone way up in the last couple of years. You’ve probably noticed. Gasoline prices this year are up nearly a dollar over 2010, and nearly two dollars over 2009.

The overall trend here is gasoline prices that inch ever upward and fuel-efficient used cars beating the industry average in holding their value over time, despite little dips that follow the whim of oil prices. For more information on used auto values you can use to help arm yourself for a trip to the dealership, check out our Used Auto Buying section.