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If you tried to buy a used car last year or the year before, you know first-hand just how crazy used car prices got back then. But some of those factors then, like the pandemic and supply chain issues, are still having residual effects on today’s used car market.

Understandably, some U.S. states have been hit harder than others by inflation, ongoing supply chain concerns, and COVID-19. So, it makes sense that certain states have higher used car prices than others.

In a recent study, along with supporting resources regarding today’s economy and car buying landscape, two states have the most expensive used car prices right now. If you live in either of these states, you already know. For those who don’t reside in these two states, you’ll likely agree that it makes sense why.

The two states ranking the worst places to buy a used car

On average, the worst and often the highest used car prices right now are attached to vehicles for sale in Wyoming and Alaska. They’re the two states, according to iSeeCars, with the absolute highest used car prices.

Alaska comes in as the worst, with metrics suggesting the average used vehicle price tag to be $29,656. Coming in second on this list is Wyoming, with an average price of $29,419 for used models.

Alaska’s most popular vehicles are SUVs, accounting for roughly 45% of all vehicle purchases. Pickups are the most expensive to buy, with an average price tag of $40,133.

Additional costs are also associated with buying any vehicle in Alaska, like the estimated 1.8% sales tax, the $100 registration fee, and negotiable doc fees. But as Find The Best Car Price points out, there’s no state sales tax on a used car. So why are used vehicles so pricey in Alaska and Wyoming, for that matter?

The contributing factors behind terrible used car prices in these states

Some states are still experiencing the economic impacts of the pandemic, supply distribution disruptions, and inventory shortages. The Anchorage Daily News says used car prices there are “running amok in a ridiculous market.” Cars that used to sell for $15,000 before the pandemic are now priced at $23,000. In some cases, Alaska pricing has skyrocketed by as much as 50% since 2020.

Part of the reason used car prices are so high in both Alaska and Wyoming is geography. Both states are sprawling in size but sparsely populated. Automotive markets are harder to sustain when there are fewer buyers available. And with the increased distances to cover to get to the populated areas, costs are higher because of travel. 

Both states are massive in size, Alaska boasting 570,640 square miles of land and Wyoming with 97,093 square miles. But populations are low, Wyoming with 584,000 residents and Alaska with 737,000. 

The best states for buying used cars right now

If you live in either Alaska or Wyoming, prepare for the high used car pricing to continue. But car sales metrics are more attractive in other states. According to those iSeeCars metrics, some of the lowest used car prices are in Indiana, Connecticut, Ohio, Virginia, and Kentucky.

The nationwide average for a used car right now is $24,710. But the aforementioned states, including Indiana, with an average of $21,961, and Ohio, with an average of $22,244, are well below average. 

While you can’t necessarily control the economy or where you live, you can explore used car buying from some states with the most affordable pricing. But if you live in and plan to buy a used model in Alaska or Wyoming, prepare to pay some of the nation’s highest used prices of all. Now that you know why, it’s not all that surprising.


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