‘It’s ridiculous’: Used car prices surge, families spend $10k more than just a few years ago


SPOKANE, Wash. — Used car prices continue to surge. Families are $10,000 more than they would have just a few years ago. One U.S. Senator wants to see relief sooner rather than later.

More people are coming in to purchase used cars because new ones are hard to come by. COVID crippled new car production which shrunk supply and increased used car prices.

Johnny Arrotta is the Sales Manager at Northtown Auto Sales. He says they’re “really busy all the time” because “not a lot of people are able to buy new cars, so they come and see us.”

Everything is more expensive, and people are searching for deals. When it comes to cars, deals are hard to come by.

“It’s ridiculous right now the way that the prices have skyrocketed out here on used cars,” said Dean Peterson. He needed a reliable car to get to and from work. He took the bus for a bit but was in a pinch for something more stable.

He found a used car but paid more than he wanted to. Used car prices are up 41-percent in Spokane, according to the Washington Auto Dealers Association. In 2019, the average price for a used car was $19,565. Now, the average price is $29,078. Semiconductor chip shortages are one of the driving factors behind the surge in prices.

“The shortages we have today, if we don’t address them, are going to continue well into the future,” said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell.

Cantwell wants to pass the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act which would increase investments in semiconductor chip production. This would make the U.S less reliant on other countries for the invaluable technology. It would also create more jobs in the tech industry. Buyers just want to see prices come down, whatever it takes.

“It’s not good. It’s bad,” Peterson added. “They really need to do something with these car prices.”

He just bought a used 2009 truck for $16,000. His monthly payment is around $400.

“I have to work a lot of overtime just to do that,” he said.

He’s driving away in a reliable car he’ll be paying for well into the future.

“It’s just tough right now.”

Here are some tips to keep in mind if you’re looking to buy:

1. Capitalize on your trade in. Since there’s a shortage, it’s probably worth more than you think.
2. Look for “First-time Buyer” perks.
3. Work with a dealership that can work with your budget and get creative with options.

RELATED: Russia war could further escalate auto prices and shortages

READ: ‘Pretty life-changing’: Some still dealing with long COVID symptoms two years later

READ: Alaska Airlines cancels, delays more flights as pilots picket for better pay and flexible schedules


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Jaime E. Love

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