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Prices for used fuel-efficient cars and hybrids rise with gas

March 19, 2012|By Jerry Hirsch
  • Prices of used compact cars and hybrids such as this older model Toyota Prius driving through Napa Valley are rising with gas prices, according to Kelley Blue Book.
Prices of used compact cars and hybrids such as this older model Toyota Prius… (Bloomberg )

Just as in past gas spikes, the prices for used compact cars and hybrids are starting to rise quickly, according to auto information company Kelley Blue Book.

While the average price of used fuel-efficient compacts at auction rose just a modest 0.4% in February, the values jumped 1.3% in the last week of the month. Hybrid prices rose by 3.6% in the last week, Kelley Blue Book said.

“The 2010 Toyota Prius led in gains, increasing in value $1,370 through the month of February,” said Alec Gutierrez, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book.  “Dealers have been aggressively bidding on fuel-efficient vehicles at auction as consumer demand increases in response to rising gas prices. If the past is any indication of things to come, Kelley Blue Book could see values of used fuel-efficient vehicles increase more than 20% during the course of the next few months.”

But the price of these fuel-efficient vehicles will remain elevated only as long as fuel prices remain high, he said. The prices for these cars sagged to normal levels as gas prices sagged off their previous highs.

Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Corp.said sales of its new Prius c five-door hatchback, the smallest hybrid in the Prius family, are off to a quick start since going on sale March 12.

In its first three days on the market, Toyota sold more than 1,200 of the sub-compact hybrid, making it one of the automaker’s fastest-selling vehicles.

“A number of factors drive the auto market, and fuel prices is one of them,” said Bob Carter, general manager of the Toyota Division. “With 53 miles per gallon in the city and priced under $19,000, the timing for Prius c couldn’t be better.”   

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