New Vehicle Prices Reach Record Highs Straining American Pocketbooks

Along with higher prices for groceries and soaring rents, it appears Americans are getting hit hard in the wallet in another way.  Automobile prices are also high right now—up nearly 2 percent since May—but skyrocketing monthly payments are nearing record highs, and there may not be much relief in sight.

Financial experts have analyzed that average monthly car payments, for new vehicles, have surpassed $700 a month. Of course, the average new car price is now more than $48,000—up 13 percent from the same time last year.  But it is not just the overall sticker price that may be catching car-buyers off guard.  Demand is at an all-time high right now as well—which also contributes to retail prices—but supply shortages have made microchips scarce, and that has made it difficult to build enough cars to meet the elevated demand.

Overall, then, this means that not only are available inventories significantly lower than usual, but the ones that do make their way to a lot tend to not stick around very long.  More importantly, perhaps, this trend has migrated to high-end purchases, as luxury vehicles closed out 18 percent of all new car sales, across the country, last month alone.

Of course, frustratingly high gas prices are also driving interest in fuel-efficient car models, as families are hoping that spending a little more on a new car will save them money at the pump, down the road. Indeed, gasoline prices are up more than 11 percent on ht month.  At the same time, hybrids and electric car prices are also up—as much as $4,000—in every sector.