Inflation nation: How cars are the canary in the coalmine

The dramatic hikes in used car prices on the Irish market are indicative of a bigger trend across the economy, with our old friends supply and demand powering the phenomenon. But is the current rate of inflation temporary or here to stay?

On the supply side, there is a shortage of new cars in almost every market around the world. Picture by Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

A strange trend is currently apparent in the Irish car market. You can potentially buy a used car today, drive it for a year, then sell it on again and turn a profit.

Sounds unlikely, right? Yet this is already the case due to the unprecedented inflation in prices, according to Dr Tom Gillespie, an environmental economist working with NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin.

“Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, used ...