Why Americans are suddenly paying $550 per month for new cars

In the Netflix era, many Americans are managing their finances based on their monthly subscription payments, often with little regard to the total they’ll pay in the long run.

That paradigm benefits the automotive industry and the lenders that finance car loans, as auto sales remain near record levels.

The average price of vehicles hit an all-time high of more than $36,000 in 2018, according to Kelley Blue Book – and with interest rates rising, car shoppers are now borrowing more than ever and extending their loans to record lengths.

New-car buyers agreed to pay an average of $551 per month for 69 months in January, according to car-buying advice site Edmunds. That’s nearly 10 percent more per month than three years earlier.