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GAINESVILLE, Ga. — In Black Book's weekly observations of current trends in the auction market, editors noticed that wholesale prices and demand for one segment, in particular, were surprisingly healthy.

With gas prices not too far from $3 per gallon, Black Book managing editor Ricky Beggs found it a bit unusual that full-size SUVs "were in demand and strong," based on reports from some of the company's survey personnel who checked out the activity at various auctions.

"Looking at the average price of regular unleaded gasoline across the country at being $2.89, an increase of just over $0.04 from the previous week and higher by $0.82 from this time last year, says this strength in larger SUVs should not be happening," he explained in the latest "Beggs on the Used Car Market" video report.

"I think the key this year is a more manageable inventory for this segment and the fact that the rise in the gas prices has been a slow and steady climb, unlike the radical changes from two years ago, when this segment type took some drastic adjustments," Beggs added.

Looking at the overall market in more depth, Beggs said that Black Book made 941 value adjustments per day last week, up significantly from the average of 650 per day during the prior week.

Moreover, 70 percent of these moves were positive ones, compared with 56 percent of the changes in the week before being upward.

Beggs noted that the overall increase was almost $58. This was the steepest climb that values have made in the last five weeks, he added.

The 10 car segments that Black Book tracks saw an overall improvement of $4, which marked the seventh time in eight weeks that cars have trended upward.

Meanwhile, trucks climbed an average of $26 as they "got back to the positive side this past week."

Only two (full-size crossovers, compact SUVs) of the 14 truck segments Black Book monitors were down.

"The bottom line is dealers still need inventory, retail sales of new and used are more upbeat, and the continued limited supply is driving their strength," Beggs noted. "Reporting, not predicting the market gives you the real market trends and values."

Looking at the overall market, Beggs said that there were still "good crowds" at auctions in the last week, though dealers may have been more selective in their choices.

As the editors made their weekly trips to the auctions this past week, the general consensus was that there were good crowds in attendance," he shared. "The second consistent reaction by the dealer body was that they were a little pickier about what they wanted, and were not willing to buy at overly inflated prices."

Beggs added: "On one day, maybe the fantastic sunny weather kept pulling the many attendees outside the lanes until a specific desired unit rolled inside onto the block, pulling them back inside to bid. It also seemed to be a week with a few more 'no sales' than we have been seeing.

"The end result shows that the dealers still need inventory as the prices overall climbed to stronger levels," he noted.