Bottom Line: Driving down car costs

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 8:36 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC/CONSUMER REPORTS) - Cars, trucks and SUVs have become more fuel efficient over the past decade, but at what cost?

Are consumers footing the bill for greener rides? A new analysis by Consumer Reports 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, which can feel sky high 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,” said Chris Harto, Consumer Reports.

That’s despite some big improvements.

Average fuel economy improved by 30%, saving consumers an average of $7,000 in lifetime gas costs per car.

Significant gains were also made in safety —with improved crash protection and technology to help avoid a collision – electronic stability control and backup cameras are now standard on new vehicles.

Many manufacturers are now including automatic emergency braking and blind spot warning.

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,” said Harto.

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

CR says you’ll get more bang for your buck, buying a car vs an SUV.

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.

“Consumer Reports TV News” is published by Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept advertising and does not have any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

Click here to sign up for our newsletter!

Click here to report a spelling or grammar error. Please include the headline.