If your budget is feeling stretched, there’s good reason for that. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index for December 2021 shows prices in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area are up 7.1% over the year.
Area gasoline prices showed some of the sharpest increases over the year, rising 50.6% from December 2020 to December 2021. The price of new and used cars also saw double-digit jumps over the year, with the used cars and trucks category rising 37.2% over the year. You can read more about the Consumer Price Index in South Florida here.
“If you haven’t purchased a car for a few years, you’re going to be surprised at how expensive they are,” said Ronald Montoya, a senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com. “There’s just a shortage of vehicles overall both in new and used and, as a result, the prices are pretty much higher than expected.”
Montoya said we likely won’t see relief anytime soon, especially if you’re looking to buy a previously owned vehicle.
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“Edmunds analysts are forecasting the average price of a used vehicle could hit up to $30,000 this year, which is a record high,” he said.
Expect to pay more for popular vehicle types like trucks and SUVs, especially brands that have a reputation for being reliable, he said. While you may find some savings if you opt for a sedan, he said those prices are higher than they’ve been in years past.
So to make sure you get the best price, shop around.
Responding to every consumer complaint
“You’ll have to cast your net wider,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to look out of town, out of your county and potentially out of state, assuming they can take care of your tax issues and registration.”
Flexibility is just as important, he said.
“If you are looking for a used vehicle, don’t necessarily count out a new vehicle because the prices can be very similar,” he said. “And likewise, if you’re looking for a new car, you might want to consider a used car if you can find one that has a good deal and is in good condition.”
You may also want to consider a new electric or hybrid vehicle. Montoya said even though they are dealing with some of the same supply issues and do cost more upfront, you may save in the long run.
Many are also eligible for a federal tax credit that can be up to several thousand dollars. You can read more about the vehicles that are eligible for that tax credit here.