Used hybrid-electric vehicle prices jumped six percent in February, Kelley Blue Book said, adding that used hybrids and fuel-efficient compact cars could see a 20 percent hike in resale values this year.

The average auction value of a hybrid car was $16,974 as of March 2, up $960 from four weeks earlier. Prices for 2010 Toyota Prius hybrids climbed almost $1,400 last month. While prices for hybrids, compacts and subcompacts were all down in early February, values picked up towards the end of the month.

Americans appear to be responding to surging gas prices by buying used fuel-efficient cars. Average regular gas prices jumped by more than 20 cents a gallon in February to about $3.80 a gallon, according to AAA.

Earlier this month, Kelley published a list of cars that cost less than $30,000 to own during the first five years of ownership when factoring in depreciation, repairs and fueling costs. Just one hybrid – the Honda Insight – made that list, while the 14 other models all had conventional powertrains. Those models included compacts such as the Nissan Versa, Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Jetta.
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Kelley Blue Book: Used Compact, Hybrid Car Values on the Rise, Could Repeat 20 Percent Gains of 2011

March Blue Book Market Report Advises Dealers to Stock Used Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Inventory Sooner Rather Than Later

IRVINE, Calif., March 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Kelley Blue Book www.kbb.com, the leading provider of new car and used car information, today reports that used compact-car values are on the rise and could reach the same 20 percent gains seen in 2011. According to Kelley Blue Book's Book Market Report for March 2012 (http://mediaroom.kbb.com/blue-book-market-report/), values of used fuel-efficient compacts increased a modest 0.4 percent in February; however, values picked up significant momentum during the last weeks of the month. In the last week of February, used compacts increased 1.3 percent, while hybrid cars increased a more substantial 3.6 percent.

Used Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Values Begin to Climb

Change for Week Ending:

Auction Values

Segment

Feb 10

Feb 17

Feb 24

Mar 2

Feb 3

Mar 2

Total Change

Hybrid Car

-1.1%

1.8%

1.6%

3.6%

$16,014

$16,974

6.0%

Compact Car

-1.2%

0.1%

0.3%

1.3%

$12,229

$12,286

0.5%

Subcompact Car

-0.9%

-0.5%

0.2%

0.7%

$11,124

$11,071

-0.5%


Note: All changes reflect values of MY09-11 vehicles

"The 2010 Toyota Prius led in gains, increasing in value $1,370 through the month of February," said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book. "Dealers have been aggressively bidding on fuel-efficient vehicles at auction as consumer demand increases in response to rising gas prices. If the past is any indication of things to come, Kelley Blue Book could see values of used fuel-efficient vehicles increase more than 20 percent during the course of the next few months."

In 2011, fuel-efficient vehicle values reached record levels in response to gas prices approaching $4.00 per gallon, and if fuel prices continue on their current trajectory, Kelley Blue Book expects to see a similar trend this year. Values of fuel-efficient vehicles will only remain elevated as long as fuel prices remain high, so if fuel prices were to ease, expect values to return to normal levels. Kelley Blue Book advises dealers to stock up on inventory sooner rather than later, since values likely will increase sharply during the next 30 to 60 days.

The monthly Blue Book Market Report explores the state of the automotive industry by analyzing Kelley Blue Book® Auction Values. The report also discusses developments in residual values and trends in monthly used-car shopper activity on kbb.com. If you would like to subscribe to the monthly Blue Book Market Report, please e-mail pr@kbb.com.

For more information and news from Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com, visit www.kbb.com/media/, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kelleybluebook (or @kelleybluebook), or like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kbb.

About Kelley Blue Book ( www.kbb.com )
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the industry. Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website www.kbb.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In and Suggested Retail Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new cars this week. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies as well as governmental agencies. Kbb.com provides consumer pricing and information on minivans, pickup trucks, sedan, hybrids, electric cars, and SUVs. Kelley Blue Book Co. Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AutoTrader.com.

SOURCE Kelley Blue Book