Used car shortage affects CHS students

This graphic from shows use car price increases from Jan. 13, 2021, through Jan. 12, 2022.

Concord High School students are among those across the country and throughout the world dealing with a car shortage facing both new and used car sales.

New and used car prices are up, making it hard for buyers and those in need to find transportation. 

“My boyfriend was looking for a car and it took him about a month to find one, and it was pretty difficult for him,” said CHS senior Reagan Lagerman.

Anthony Schirl, another senior, said, “When I was looking for a car everything was really expensive. Some used cars I looked at were more expensive than when they were new. I ended up getting a car from a family member instead.” 

There are other effects for those in the Concord community. CHS senior Michael Sedutto, who has a job working on cars outside of school, said that the car shortage “limits my customer pool and limits my ability to do my job because parts I need are always backordered.”

The root cause of the current shortages is a global chip crisis. Computer chips are used in many items including cars, home computers, toys, and even batteries, or basically everything that uses electricity in one way or another.

The process for manufacturing these computer chips, or integrated circuits (ICs), is very complex and time consuming. The growing backlog of orders is increasing the price of ICs even more, at a time when demand is already high.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, home computer and accessories sales increased while people worked from home, increasing the demand for computer chips.

In the early part of 2021, cryptocurrency was also on a large uptrend, further increasing demand. Specialized ICs are used in the cryptocurrency mining process, which has become a profitable business with the explosion of Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies in the past couple of years.

All of this increased demand, as well as current supply chain issues, has slowed and even stopped the delivery of ICs to manufacturers, including car companies.

With a lack of computer chips, car manufacturers cannot produce nearly as many new vehicles as usual, creating a shortage of new cars in the marketplace. This has also affected used car sales as well, as many buyers turn to used car alternatives instead of buying new.

Some car manufacturers have continued to build cars, but leave out extra features or just not finish them due to the chip shortage. According to CarGurus, the average price for a used car has gone up by 35% in the past year, and new car prices have followed.

Looking ahead, most analysts, including Kelly Blue Book, are predicting the end of the car shortage in 2022 as IC manufacturers get more chips delivered.

Even after the car shortage has passed, many other products may continue to struggle with the chip shortage facing the world as well this year. 

Of course, not all CHS students have been following the dilemma. Zanis Lauris, a junior at Concord High who is getting ready to start driving, has not been paying attention yet to where he’ll get his wheels: “There’s a car shortage?”