If you're thinking about buying a new car this Memorial Day weekend and feel like your budget is stretched thin, take comfort that this situation is currently common among Americans. The average U.S. consumer spent $300 more, an increase of 1.2 percent, in the first quarter of this year compared with the last quarter of 2011, according to the latest data from Comerica Bank. The increase meant that buying the average-priced new car cost 23.2 weeks' worth of median family income.
Although car buying is slightly less affordable than it has been recently, it is still one of the most affordable times in more than 30 years, according to Comerica. Buying a car was the least affordable in 1995, when it took nearly 31 weeks' worth of median family income to buy the average-priced new car.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.