Oklahoma’s Own In Focus: High Car Prices Impact Tulsans

Oklahoma’s Own In Focus: High Car Prices Impact Tulsans

People buying cars are facing the worst sticker shock in a generation. 

It's not just new vehicles, used car prices are going back up as well. On top of that, interest rates for loans and insurance costs have also skyrocketed.

What Are The Car Prices In 2024?

The Federal Reserve says the number of people missing their car loan payments are at their highest level since 2008. 

The average cost for a new car is about $47,000, with the average monthly payment being more than $700. 

The average interest rate for a new car is more than 7 percent, and nearly 12 percent for a used one.

Insurance payments have also risen 22 percent since last year.

Tulsans Struggling To Afford Cars

A single mother in Tulsa says she wrecked her car on Thursday and is worried about how she's going to afford to replace it.

Getting into a wreck and totaling her car, turned Kalahni Collins' world upside down.

"It was an '07 Toyota Sienna, so not that reliable at all but it was a car that got us from point A to point B," she said.

Now, she can't drive her three kids where they need to go and can't get to her son's doctors appointments in Kansas.

She's not even trying to buy a fancy car, just an affordable one.

She says she's worried about getting enough money saved up for a downpayment, and then there's car payments and insurance.

"Most places want anywhere between $1,000 and $2,500, especially when you're a single mom with not that great credit, so it makes it really hard when you don't have that income to put up," she said.

Right now, she's taking the bus or walking everywhere including five miles to work.

"You do what you have to do, but it's not fun, and it's not safe in this world, I carry pepper spray with me most of the time because I'm terrified of this world," she said.

This makes her feel like she's not being a good mom, and just wants to make sure she can give her kids a good life.

"I went through so much growing up, I'm trying to prevent my kids from ever feeling the way I felt, but how am I supposed to do that when I can't even get a car right now," she said.

She says she's looked online even places like Facebook Marketplace, but it's tough to know if cheap cars would even run properly.

How Should People Maintain Their Cars?

A local mechanic says the best thing you can do to keep your current car for longer and avoid a new car payment is keep up with the maintenance.

Randy Stringer owns Randy's Automotive and Alignment near 11th and Utica.

He says he's seen people come back to get their cars fixed after they see how expensive it is to buy a new one.

He says it's critical to not let repairs snowball.

"Doing the oil changes is number one in keeping track of your oil, and then just doing your minor maintenance like your repair book says, or your owner's manual says," Stringer said.

He says it is important to weigh out what the car is worth versus the amount of money you're putting into it.