Consumer Reports: Car prices remain stable

Cars, trucks, and SUVs have become more fuel efficient over the past decade, but at what cost? Are you footing the bill for greener rides?

We’re working for you to share a new analysis by Consumer Reports that reveals some surprising results.

Everything feels more expensive these days, and with inflation, gas, groceries, and even utilities cost a lot more than they did 20 years ago.

So as cars have become more complex, with regulations demanding better fuel efficiency and safety, it’s easy to assume the price of a new car must be higher too.

So Consumer Reports dug into the data – looking at the prices of hundreds of cars it bought over nearly 20 years.

“Our analysis found that from 2003 through 2021 that the price of new vehicles did not increase once we adjusted for inflation,” Chris Harto with Consumer Reports said.

That’s despite some big improvements. CR said the average fuel economy improved by 30 percent, saving consumers an average of seven thousand dollars in lifetime gas costs per car.

Significant gains were also made in safety — with improved crash protection and technology to help avoid a crash – electronic stability control and backup cameras are now standard on new vehicles. And many manufacturers now include automatic emergency braking and blind spot warning.

But even if the prices of individual vehicles are staying the same, data shows people are paying more for new cars — why?

“Consumers are buying more expensive vehicles,” Harto said.

CR said sales of SUVs have doubled, while sales of less expensive sedans and wagons fell by almost the same amount.

CR’s top tip next time you head to the dealer – whatever you choose, don’t buy “more vehicle” than you need.

It can cost you in financing, insurance, fuel economy, maintenance, and depreciation over time.

About the Authors:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

You can watch Brittny during the week anchoring the 5, 7 and 11 p.m. newscasts on WSLS 10 and reporting on news that matters to you.