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Used Prius prices like new
High gas prices, long waits bring used Prius prices above list price of a new model, study says.
April 11, 2005: 12:50 PM EDT
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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Demand for the gas-electric hybrid Prius is so great that some used Priuses are selling for more than the list price for a new one, a report said on Monday.

Buyers who want to avoid the typical two-month waiting period for the hot Toyota model are willing to pay the premium, according a study conducted by Kelly Blue Book and Harris Interactive.

Waits at some dealerships can be considerably longer. The market for the used Prius is so strong that some owners are trying to sell them for more than they paid for them.

The survey said that 8 percent of the consumers considered hybrid vehicles in March, twice as much as 4 percent in February. It also said if gas prices reach $3 per gallon 77 percent of car shoppers will seriously consider a more fuel efficient vehicle.

The Prius, which uses an electric motor in addition to a gasoline engine, is estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency to get 51 miles per gallon on the highway and 60 mpg in the city. (Because of its hybrid drivetrain, the Prius gets better mileage in stop-and-go city driving than on the highway.)

The 2005 Prius also had the highest owner satisfaction of any 2005 model, according to an owner survey by Consumer Reports magazine.

Buyers of new Priuses are paying above the sticker price for the cars, which is helping to support the price of the used cars. The new car lists for $20,975 to $26,640, Toyota says.

A spokesman for Toyota told CNN that the wait time for a new Prius hybrid is currently about 2 months, down from 6 months last year because of an increase in production.

Mark Brueggemann, senior analyst for the car pricing service Kelley Blue Book, recommends that buyers wait. "At $4,000 or $5,000 over sticker, you're really paying to be the first on your block to have one," he told USA Today.

The paper reported that George Wu, 35, of Redondo Beach, Calif., listed his 2005 Prius with 180 miles on the odometer for sale at $31,495, which is about $1,000 more than he paid for it.

The article also said that Rich Stevens, 81, of Des Moines owns two Priuses and plans to sell one of them and hang onto the other. His 2004 Prius with 16,000 miles is for sale at $25,000, which he told the paper is about what he paid for it a year ago. He is offering his new '05 model that he waited eight months to get for $29,000, about $1,000 above what he paid.

To read CNN/Money's road test of the Toyota Prius, click here.

For more automotive news, click here.

For more on the effects of high gasoline prices, click here.  Top of page

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