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    Demand for used pickups remains high

    Not everyone can afford a brand-new pickup truck. Fortunately for drivers, many of the most popular models have reached a high standard of quality and come equipped with an impressive bevy of features year after year, which makes it easy to find a passable off-road vehicle in a pre-owned model.

    While this may relieve some of the stress on a budget, however, it doesn't mean the automobiles come cheap. In fact, some of these used models may still have a relatively high price tag, as the general cost of these vehicles has been rising steadily over the past several years. 

    Demand for pickups remains
    According to the NADA Used Car Guide, pickup trucks remain one area where buyers cannot get enough. A combination of lower gas prices and a smaller supply of used pickups for sale caused the demand to jump, which in turn raised prices for these trucks. 

    "Demand for both new and used full-size pickups was extremely high last year," said Jonathan Banks, an analyst with the NADA Used Car Guide. "The segment is unique because it supports both consumer and commercial needs, and the fact that used full-size pickups lost about 8 percent of their value last year is clear evidence that America's love affair with the segment remains strong." 

    Prices increase all around
    Continuing the trend set in the past several years, the average cost of used cars rose again in 2013. At the end of December, used cars cost about 0.4 percent more than they did at the same time in 2012. That is good news for sellers, as they can get a better return on their vehicles, and it partially comes about as a result of a slower rate of depreciation. According to the data, trade-in values of vehicles from 2006 to 2013 model years dropped by about 15.9 percent in 2013, which is an improvement from the 16.1 percent rate in 2012. 

    "A stronger economy, pent-up demand and favorable credit conditions underpinned used vehicle price strength in 2013," Banks said. "These positive factors helped to balance downward price pressure caused by an increase in the supply of late-model used vehicles, which began to grow again in 2013 following a five-year slide from a falloff in new vehicle sales and trade-ins during the recession."