The true price of a new car might be more than what's on the sticker

Posted at 9:14 AM, Jul 04, 2022

Historically, the Fourth of July weekend is an excellent time to find deals on cars, but that's not the case this year because of a lack of inventory at dealerships.

Making things more challenging, high gas prices are making fuel cost stickers on new cars less accurate.

May was the 11th consecutive month where average new car prices sold above the manufacturer's suggested retail price. Kelley Blue Book expects this will be the case for June when monthly numbers are released.

Additionally, consumer reports found some projected fuel costs over five years are off by more than $10,000.

During normal times, that probably provides a great directional indicator of what the costs of fueling the vehicle would be,” said Jeff Bartlett, managing editor of Consumer Reports. “But with the massive change in prices recently, we found that they've become quite separated from the reality people are going to face at the pump.”

Consumer Reports said estimates are off because the Environmental Protection Agency puts them together two years in advance.

As of now, they don't have any plans to change that, so getting accurate information at the dealership will require an extra step.

Consumers really need to take the extra step to take out their smartphone and take a picture of the QR code that's on every window sticker. That will give you a very current view of what the costs are expected to be,” Bartlett said.

The QR code has a calculator that you can use to predict future fuel costs based on a car's miles per gallon.