Average used car price climbs to $16,800

In another sign that the new car market's recovery has not yet peaked, the average used car price hit a record $16,800 last year, according to a report from Edmunds.com. That marked a 5.7 percent increase from 2013's average of $15,900. Higher used car prices mean that the resale value of three- and four-year-old vehicles coming off leases is strong. They also mean that people looking to buy new cars are likely to get reasonable offers on the models they trade in. But the main reason for last year's gain is the growth in what automakers and their dealers call the "certified pre-owned" market. These are mostly off-lease vehicles that dealers recondition and offer as alternatives to bargain hunting consumers who don't want to buy a new vehicle.

Gasoline pushes wholesale prices down

U.S. wholesale prices fell by a record amount in January, led by the biggest drop in gasoline prices in six years. The Labor Department said that its producer price index declined 0.8 percent last month, the biggest drop in a data series that goes back to November 2009 when the government changed the calculation methods for its wholesale price index. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, wholesale prices edged down 0.1 percent in January after a 0.3 percent rise for core prices in December. Overall prices fell a revised 0.2 percent in December and were also down 0.2 percent in November.

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