Car rates

Consumers in these states are buying the oldest used cars, study finds

Thanks in large part to supply chain issues, used car prices have skyrocketed. The automotive crisis has disrupted car buying, forcing many buyers to choose used vehicles over new ones. In some states, consumers are even choosing older used cars over younger used models, and some are buying used vehicles more than others.

These states buy the oldest used cars

A used car dealership in Queens, New York in January 2022 | Pablo Monsalve/VIEWpress via Getty Images

New ValuePenguin research shows used car sales are up everywhere. However, Idaho and South Dakota buy the oldest used cars, with an average age of 7.98 years. This is closely followed by residents of Wyoming, who buy used vehicles around 7.71 years old.

Oddly enough, residents of these states tend to pay the most for used vehicles compared to other states. At the same time, these states also tend to have lower median salaries than other states, which would make it more lucrative to keep a car for longer.

Another factor that explains why people seek out older used cars rather than buying new ones is that vehicles last longer than previous generations, says ValuePenguin. This is especially true if the vehicle has been well maintained.

Most used car buyers are looking for this model year

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As part of the study, ValuePenguin polled consumers to find out which model year they were considering buying. It’s no surprise that most potential car buyers are looking to 2020 models. In fact, 20% of survey respondents said they asked about 2020 models.

The 2021 model year came in second with just over 8%, followed by 2018. The first year included in the survey is 2002, which saw around 1% of claims. And the 2011 and 2015 model years are distinguished by a large number of inquiries.

Another key finding: the average age of the cars most people look at is 6.47 years old.

Other information from the ValuePenguin study

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Used car prices have risen about 6.6% since last year. That may seem like a lot, but if you compare it to the cost of new cars, which has increased by 10.4% since last year, it’s still cheaper to go for a used model. In fact, some new vehicles cost nearly $20,000 more than used models.

As for states looking to buy the newest used vehicles, those are mostly found in the Northeast. New Jersey consumers are looking for the youngest used cars, at 5.70 years old. It is closely followed by Florida, with 5.76, and Washington, DC, with 5.80.

These three states have the highest median salaries, making it much easier for consumers to buy a younger used vehicle than someone on a strict budget.

Car insurance premiums could be higher for a used car

If you’re interested in buying a used car, it’s important to note that you might save money on the initial cost, but insurance might drive up the overall cost. This is because insurance companies are well aware of the maintenance and repairs that older vehicles require. But there are ways to pay more for used car insurance.

For example, a good driving record will greatly help you when negotiating insurance costs. If you have points on your file, they will be held against you. On the other hand, a clean driving record can help you get a better insurance quote.

But your driving record only goes so far. The make and model year of the car play an equally important role in car insurance costs. Vehicles considered luxury, premium or classic cost more to insure than common vehicles that seem to last forever.

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