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Use Car Shoppers Get Sticker Shock As Prices Soar

Last updated on Monday, February 27, 2012

(UNDATED) - Used car shoppers looking for deals are doing a double-take.

Prices are up, and they are expected to keep going up this year. It's a new kind of sticker shock. Good used cars are scarce. That's sending prices higher than many shoppers expected.

On average, the National Automobile Dealers Association says used vehicle prices are up about three percent from last year. That number could be deceiving. Kelley Blue Book figures prices are closer to 20 percent higher for the most popular fuel efficient models.

The recession put the car market on its ear. Dealers say a lot of their trade-ins are a lot older and have a lot more miles on them. Shoppers are looking to buy used instead of new. The supply of used cars is down, and demand for them is up. That's bad news for buyers, but good news for owners looking to trade up.

Some sales manager say that 2007 or 2008 with 50,000 or 60,000 miles is a gold mine. Some say they are going to extraordinary lengths to find decent used cars - even to the point of calling customers and asking if they want to trade.

New car sales are picking up. That should take the edge off rising used car prices. In the long run, that may help buyers find the bargain they are looking for.

You might be surprised how much your present car is worth. We've made it easier to find out. Here are a couple of links there to help calculate the price tag:

* Kelley Blue Book What's MyCar Worth?

* Edmunds Used Car Appraisal

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