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Why low gas prices are sending drivers into debt

Posted at 8:50 AM, Jul 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-05 12:45:29-04

Great news for drivers this summer: Gas prices are down.

But the great deals might actually be costing drivers more money and plunging them into debt. 

Many Americans feel the low gas prices are saving them enough money to trade in their small cars and trade up for an SUV. In order to purchase a new top of line SUV, drivers are taking out long loans. 

The average loan last month was for 6 years. Tim Jackson with the Automobile Dealers Association says 30 years ago, vehicle buyers only had two loan options, and they were both short term. 

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“You want 24 or 36 months so those were the two options, say 20 to 30 years ago, but now the options range all the way up to 6,7 ... all the way up to 8 years.”

The average loan last month was $31,000, which means their monthly payment is more than $500. Because of the high monthly car payment, experts say there are serious downsides to long auto loans.

There's a bit of bad news on the gas price front, too: Oil analysts say they’re already creeping up in some places.