The price of gasoline has officially reached $4 per gallon, causing car buyers to flock toward high-mileage offerings. However, due to the March earthquake in Japan, constrained supply of high-MPG vehicles is driving up prices as demand soars.
According to Edmunds.com, the transaction price of a new Toyota Prius hybrid was $64 above sticker during the first week of May. Even used Prius hybrids are selling for slightly higher than average.
According to Toyota spokesman Mike Michels, as gas prices climbed past $4 a gallon in 2008, Priuses were in such heavy demand that the amount of time they sat on dealers’ lots was “measured in hours,” rather than days. As demand for hybrids resumes once again, dealers are clamoring to get their hands on as many hybrids as possible.
“We ran out of Priuses over a month ago,” says Earl Stewart, a Toyota dealer in North Palm Beach, Fla. In March he sold 88 new, but sold just 24 last month, and “This month we’ll be lucky to get 10 or 12.”
Despite parts shortages stemming from the recent disaster, Toyota has confirmed that the latest addition to the Prius family, the larger Prius V, is due to arrive in showrooms on time this fall.