No surprise: high-MPG vehicles expected to retain more value

Both lease finance companies and owners trying to sell gas-guzzling trucks have been taking a bath on re-sale values of those vehicles. With so many trucks and SUVs suddenly showing up on auction lots and used car lots, the value of these vehicles has simply tanked as supply far exceeds demand. We've already seen exactly the opposite be true for smaller more efficient vehicles as people snap up nearly 20 year old Metros for up to $7,000.

Over the course of 2008, as gas prices have spiked and dealers have sold off every Civic, Prius and Focus they could lay their hands on, the residual values have jumped. The Prius has gone form 58.9 to 62.2 percent of its value retained after three years while the Civic hybrid has gone from 60.1 to 62 percent. Currently, diesels are doing even better with the 2005 VW Jetta TDI still worth 82.8 percent of its original value. Edmunds is projecting that over the next five years diesels will hold their value better than hybrids because of concerns with long-term durability of the batteries. This is a highly dubious argument since current hybrids, especially the ones being used in taxi fleet service have been holding up very well. Manufacturers have generally developed the nickel metal hydride batteries to maximize service life at the expense of energy capacity. If anything, battery quality is more likely to be an issue for the first generations of plug-in vehicles which will be much more dependent on the batteries.

[Source: Green Fuels Forecast]

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