Experts predict value of fuel efficient vehicles to plummet

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- The cars some are saying will be the future of automobiles may become less valuable because of lower than predicted gasoline prices, according to some experts.

Kelley Blue Book, the country's biggest vehicle valuation company, expects the value of hybrid cars to drop 15 percent this year. Researchers say that's thanks to cheaper gas prices, the lower demand for more fuel efficient vehicles and a stabilization of production of cars manufactured in Japan.

All of our vehicles will go down in value as time go on like any used car, says Midlands Honda hybrid specialist Kacey Green.

Along with the overall automobile market, KBB officials say over the past several weeks the value of compact and subcompact cars fell around 1 to 2 percent. However, they forecast the overall market to level out, while the value of more fuel-efficient vehicles will keep tumbling.

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This comes after the first few months of 2011 showing strong demand and high value for gas sipping rides.

Some economists were predicting gas prices to top the $4 mark this summer, or even higher according to some. So far, prices have been far lower than forecasted.

Currently in the Midlands gas prices are up over last week's average, but still the lowest in the nation at $3.39 per gallon. Green says fuel costs haven TMt affected the value of their fuel-efficient fleet.

We TMre selling every one we are getting a hold of, Green adds.

According to new cars sales manager Jeff Bowers of Dick Dyer Toyota, interest in the company TMs Prius is still cruising at full speed.

For us here at Dick Dyer Toyota, sales have actually still been good, says Bowers. Last month, we sold 12 Prii and I think this month we have sold three so far.

Despite the possible decrease in value of hybrids, analysts add they are still a smart investment. Down the road, the fuel efficient models will likely save you money in gas and help preserve the environment.

Make sure to vote in our poll and leave a comment below on whether you think there should still be a focus on buying more fuel efficient vehicles?