Interest rates, production costs, and regulations have made new cars cost more.
According to Experian, the average consumer pays $495 for a new car loan. That is more than the $447 they paid in 2008. The average interest rate in the third quarter of 2016 was 4.69 percent, compared to the higher rate of 6.14 percent in 2008.
Consumers were financing more car in 2016 than in 2008 — up to an average of $30,022 compared to $24,600 for 2008.
The cost of cars is also higher. In fact, according to Autotrader, about 3 million new cars should have been sold last year, just looking at population growth.
Part of the problem, says Heritage.org, is that new regulations press car prices up, just as new technology actually pushes prices down.
The price of a new vehicle is more than $7,000 higher than 2008, Heritage says. It points to new, costly fuel economy standards that are driving prices up.
Prices are also under pressure at the dealer level. According to Automotive News, franchised new-car dealers in the U.S. spent a combined $3.2 billion in 2012 to meet 61 new federal regulations. Those costs are passed along to consumers.