In July, the average price of a 2007 model car rose to $19,248, up 10.3 percent compared to the average price of a 3-year-old car in July 2009.
The Detroit News reported Monday that car companies turned off the tap on leasing programs during the prolonged recession, which brought the supply of used cars down.
At the same time, with a 9.5 percent unemployment rate, U.S. consumers have become less willing to spend.
Added to that, the $3 billion federal "cash for clunkers" program caused 677,000 used cars to be traded-in last year, all of which, under program rules, had to be destroyed, slimming the used car supply even further.
"It's a tough time to buy a used car, and it's more important than ever to do your homework before shopping … Decide ahead of time how much you are willing to spend and keep yourself to that limit," said Philip Reed Sr., Edmunds.com's consumer advice editor.