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Hurricane Sandy’s trail of destruction hasn’t left used car shoppers unscathed. The National Automobile Dealers Association reports that used cars that are up to eight-years old could see prices rise 0.5% to 1.5% in December.

“The loss of used-vehicle supply and the increase in replacement demand after Hurricane Sandy will have the greatest impact on used-vehicle prices in December,” says Jonathan Banks, executive automotive analyst with the NADA Used Car Guide. In comparison, NADA says that Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath saw used car prices rise up to three percent, or as much as $309 in the four-month period that followed the storm.

NADA says the average used vehicle could see a price hike of $50 to $175, according to The Detroit Free Press. However, with roughly 250,000 cars destroyed, some analysts predict notably higher prices.

Edmunds says that used car prices could rise $700 to $1,000 “in the short term.”

Although high prices are more likely on the East Coast, The Los Angeles Times writes that Sandy’s effects could be felt across the nation. Additionally, damaged new inventory at dealerships and storage facilities compound the issue.

The Detroit Free Press reports that one Honda dealer lost 600 cars, while up to 4,500 new Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles may have sustained damage from the storm.

Consumers also run the risk of buying flood damaged cars from dishonest dealers. If you’re in the market for a used car, Carfax suggests checking “for signs of water damage on the inside of the car, such as water lines in the trunk or engine compartment, rusted bolts underneath seats, condensation on the instrument panel or brittle wires under the dash.” A pre-purchase inspection from a good mechanic and a clean vehicle history report will also help you avoid flood-damaged vehicles.

Looking for a reliable, new or used car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. You can also find the best local prices in the area by using our Best Price Program. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook