Readers’ Forum: The ridiculous price increase in the used car industry

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There is a shortage of people buying new cars, not necessarily a shortage in cars themselves, student Josiah Poulson said. (Photo courtesy of Josiah Poulson)

When I was 14, I learned how to drive a 1998 Ford Ranger. I drove that around the farm for a year before I decided to sell it and get something else. I purchased a 1984 Ford Bronco, which I fixed up and also sold. By the time I was 16, I had already bought and sold three vehicles.

Buying and selling vehicles for a profit has since become a hobby of mine. I have purchased and sold many more vehicles since then and even had the opportunity to drive around a 1980 Corvette my senior year of high school. Although I am still pretty young, I have been involved in the car market for a while, so I have my fair share of knowledge when it comes to the values of a car. 

There is no question as to whether or not the value of a car has increased significantly since my last vehicle purchase and in the last two years. Some car values have doubled or even tripled to what they once were only a mere pandemic ago. To the average person, this may not be a big deal or even a noticeable one. A car can almost be classified as a necessity in today’s day and age so people often just pay for what they’re told to because they need a vehicle.

To me, and a lot of other car enthusiasts, we view cars as more than just a necessity: We view them as toys and as an extension of our personalities. Real cars just happen to be a bit more expensive than a matchbox car from Walmart does. So finding a good vehicle at a good price that fulfills all your wants and desires is important. But cars like these are getting more and more difficult to come by as time moves on.  

The argument used to back up the increased prices is because of the “shortage” of vehicles since the start of the pandemic and the inability of car manufacturers to build and sell vehicles. Although there may be some truth to that, over the course of the past couple of years new car purchases have been on a low compared to previous years.

According to a Forbes article, “U.S. new-vehicle sales in 2020 fell 14.6% overall to just 14.6 million. That’s down from 17.1 million in 2019, and the lowest total since 2012 when the economy was recovering from the Great Recession.”

So in reality there is not a shortage of vehicles but rather a shortage of people buying new cars creating this false sense of reality making people think there’s a shortage of cars. 

Unfortunately, I had to sell my Corvette to pay for my first couple of semesters at BYU, but I am grateful for the experience and knowledge I gained from it and the many cars I owned before. Lowering the prices of vehicles to what they once were would help give others the chance to do what I did and help them learn many valuable life lessons. Reintroducing common sense back into the used car market scene and educating people that there was never a shortage of vehicles can hopefully in turn bring down the prices once again.

–Josiah Poulson

Connell, Washington

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