If you’ve tried to buy a used car of almost any type recently, what you found might have shocked you. Supply chain disruptions and component shortages have left automakers high and dry with new vehicle production, leading to inventory shortages and rising prices. That pushed demand onto the used market, where prices have grown steadily for months.
A recent study from iSeeCars found that used car prices remain elevated but have shown signs of slowing their ascendancy. Even so, prices of used electric cars increased dramatically in July, with a 54.3% gain over the same period last year. The firm points out that EVs typically depreciate quickly because of lack of demand, but climbing gas prices and other factors have led to a surge in buyer interest.
Price increases had slowed for the first three months of the year and continued for gas vehicles through June. Starting in April, used EV prices outpaced their gasoline counterparts by a large margin, thanks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent spikes in gas prices.
The Nissan Leaf had the most dramatic price increase over 2021, netting a 45% spike to an average used price of $28,787. The Chevy Bolt was next in line, with a 29.3% price increase, and the Tesla Model S saw a 27.5% increase. iSeeCars notes that several Tesla models saw extreme price increases last year, which could explain why some didn’t spike as hard this time around. The Model Y, for example, “only” increased by 13.6%.
You may be wondering how EV prices as a whole increased 54% when no individual model became that much more expensive. Turns out the mix of models sold changed between July 2022 and July 2021, caused in part by the massive recall involving Chevy Bolt batteries.
"There were relatively fewer Chevy Bolt EVs and more Tesla Model 3s and Model Ys (and to a lesser extent Model S, Porsche Taycan, and Audi E-Trons) on the market in July 2022, which caused the average price in July 2022 to be pulled upward," said Kara Lawton of iSeeCars. "Chevy Bolt made up a larger share of what was available in the used EV market last year and a smaller share this year, whereas more expensive EVs made up a bigger share this year, so the overall average price went up by a lot."
Hybrid cars were slowing early this year but clawed back in July. iSeeCars attributes part of the rebound to a lack of traditional vehicles on sale and the steep increases in EV prices. Gas prices and the added security of a quick-refilling gasoline engine may have also played parts.