Hurricane Sandy to Blame for Rising Used-Car Prices

Used wheels will cost more. Flood damage is an even bigger worry.

Along with the mud, the muck and the hardship that Hurricane Sandy left in her wake comes another unwelcome gift: higher used-car prices. The storm wrecked some 250,000 consumer vehicles. As drivers replace them, used-car prices could rise nationwide.

Sandy didn’t skip over new-car lots; major dealers reported thousands of lost vehicles. But used-car losses are greater, and inventories were already strained. In recent years, people have been buying fewer new cars, resulting in fewer trade-ins. So an uptick in demand in a short period points to price hikes for pre-owned wheels.

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Anne Kates Smith
Executive Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Anne Kates Smith brings Wall Street to Main Street, with decades of experience covering investments and personal finance for real people trying to navigate fast-changing markets, preserve financial security or plan for the future. She oversees the magazine's investing coverage,  authors Kiplinger’s biannual stock-market outlooks and writes the "Your Mind and Your Money" column, a take on behavioral finance and how investors can get out of their own way. Smith began her journalism career as a writer and columnist for USA Today. Prior to joining Kiplinger, she was a senior editor at U.S. News & World Report and a contributing columnist for TheStreet. Smith is a graduate of St. John's College in Annapolis, Md., the third-oldest college in America.