Coping with skyrocketing new and used car prices

An empty auto dealer lot
The new car lot at Jim White Toyota just outside of Toledo, Ohio, is depleted on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, with only a few new vehicles available for sale. A global shortage of computer chips has forced automakers to temporarily close factories, limiting production and driving up prices.
Tom Krisher | AP

If you’ve thought about buying a new car, you probably noticed two things: fewer cars on lots and skyrocketing prices.

The average price for a new vehicle purchased in December of 2021 was over $47,000, up nearly $6,000 from a year earlier. 

Car manufacturers are still dealing with a microchip shortage and production will likely be squeezed for at least another year, according to industry analysts.  

The shortage of new cars has had a ripple effect. Used car prices have also shot up as more people look for a less expensive alternative to a new car.  And, more people are holding onto their vehicles for longer, opting to repair them instead of trading them in. 

On Monday, MPR News guest host Chris Farrell spoke with an automotive journalist and electric car expert about how consumers can cope with the high-cost car market and where it might be headed.

Guests: 

  • Jukka Kukkonen is founder of Shift2Electric, a Minnesota-based electric vehicle consulting and training company. He drives an electric car and in 2012 founded the MN EV Owners group, which has become one of the largest and most active regional plug-in vehicle owner groups in the nation. 

  • Sean Tucker is an automotive journalist who has written for U.S. News and World Report, Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader. He's based outside Washington, D.C. 

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