Used cars were one of the biggest contributors to inflation over the past two years. Now, despite steady price declines in recent months, dealerships are hiking their prices once again. 
According to Cox Automotive's Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index, prices were up 2.5 percent in January from the month before, even as they remain down 12.8 percent from a year ago. 
Cox noted that the increase is due to higher-than-expected demand for the season. 
The trend could stem from consumers playing catch-up. In 2022, buyers backed out of the market due to elevated prices and shortage of supply, driving down prices by 15 percent. 
The average listing for a used vehicle was $27,143 in December. Just last month, Cox reported the market had returned to its pre-COVID normal. Now that narrative could be in doubt.