It has almost never been as hard to buy a new or used car in the United States as it is today, despite improving supply issues and inflation beginning to steady.
Vehicle transaction prices — the price you actually end up paying after any dealer discounts or markups — have been climbing higher and faster since 2020 than any other point in more than 35 years, according to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The consumer price indexes for both new and used cars — the average changes in vehicle transaction price over time — are much higher than they were four years ago in 2019.
There is a silver lining. BLS data shows inflation for used cars has been cooling down just as dramatically since December 2022 as it increased in the months before that. But used cars have a long way to go before approaching 2019 sales prices and new car prices have yet…