Edmunds: Compact car prices on the rise

The recent uptick in fuel costs has caused the prices on many used car models to soar as of late, especially compact cars with good fuel economy ratings.

According to data from Edmunds reported by MSNBC, the price of a used Honda Accord has gone up significantly since September, with a purported price increase of 24 percent. Used Hyundai Sonatas are also up in price, with an average jump of 22 percent. Other big movers include the Honda Civic at 13 percent and the Nissan Sentra at 12 percent.

"Gas prices are definitely starting to ripple in the used car market right now," Bill Visnic, an analyst for Edmunds, told the news source.

The news may not inspire much confidence in drivers considering a used vehicle, but analysts believe that the recent trend is just the tip of what could eventually be a much larger surge in small car prices. In the past, seeing the price of fuel reach above $4 per gallon tends to send consumers into a panic, trading in their large vehicles for smaller ones. The price has already been above $4 in some parts of the country, but the national average is still at $3.80 – meaning small car prices could go higher still if costs continue to rise.

In addition, the recent Japanese earthquake may mean a shortage of vehicles over the summer, making the future appear a bit bleak pricing-wise. Many dealers are already preparing to have a reduced supply of cars for sale, meaning that incentives are drying up and prices may begin climbing in anticipation of the shortfall.

Of course, for those who can weather the low fuel economy, this can be a great time to get a deal on a used SUV or sports car. It's true you might be paying a bit more at the pump while the prices remain high, but if you end up with significant savings on the initial deal, it'll be worth it in the long run.

In essence, it might be smart for drivers considering the purchase of a used car to buy as soon as possible, before the prices start to go up even further. Shopping at New Jersey State Auto Auction can ensure that you get a fair deal no matter what the national pressures may be. Financing is available for those who qualify, and there is a wide selection of cars for sale no matter if you're looking for an SUV or small car.