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The average price of a new light vehicle (including both cars and light trucks) was $31,790 in 2016, up from the most recent low of $28,243 in 2008. Twenty years ago, prices for cars and light trucks were similar, but car prices have steadily decreased while truck prices have increased. The average price for cars in 2016 was $25,774, while light trucks, which include pickups, sport utility vehicles, and vans, reached $35,829. Prices are sales-weighted average transaction prices adjusted for inflation.

Average Price of a New Light Vehicle, 1970-2016

Graph showing average price of a new light vehicle fro 1970 to 2016. See detailed information in the Fact#988 dataset.

Note: Light truck and all light vehicle data are not available before 1987. Light trucks include classes 1-3. Average prices are estimated transaction prices based on sales for selected models. Prices are collected for the base price, destination charge, options, dealer preparation charges and applicable taxes and are adjusted for markups, dealer concession or discounts, and consumer rebates. Finance charges or finance incentives are excluded.


Cars – U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Accounts, underlying detail estimates for Motor Vehicle Output, Washington, DC, 2017.

Light trucks and all light vehicles – Calculated using total new light truck expenditures from the National Income and Product Accounts and light truck sales from Wards Automotive.

Adjusted for inflation using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index.

Fact #988 Dataset

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