(KTLA) – It’s a long-established article of faith that your new car starts depreciating in value as soon as you drive it off the lot.

These days, not so much.

Industry data cited by the Wall Street Journal show that COVID-related supply shortages have pushed up the prices of used cars and caused many recently purchased vehicles to appreciate — not depreciate as expected — in value.

According to market researcher J.D. Power, the average price for a new car last April was $38,585. By January of this year, that same car was selling for an average of $48,765 as a slightly used vehicle.

Before the pandemic, according to the firm, new cars would drop in value by about 33% during their first year on the road and would continue declining in worth by an average 14% annually thereafter.

Over the last two years, however, that trend has been turned on its head.

In 2021, the first-year drop in value was cut by more than half, to 14.5%. And cars as old as five years actually started appreciating in worth, rising in value by about 13% a year.

“You see nutty things,” one car dealer told the Journal. “Cars that were $25,000 new three years ago are $25,000 today. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Actually, it does.

This is Econ 101, supply-and-demand in action. Because of rising demand and limited inventory, prices for new and used vehicles have been surging for months.

According to the Labor Department, prices for used cars skyrocketed by 40.5% in January from a year ago — a key factor in pushing the overall inflation rate to a 40-year high of 7.5%.

If you’re selling your vehicle, therefore, the timing couldn’t be better. If you’re buying new wheels, well, you might want to put your purchase on hold.

Industry analysts and economists expect the supply shortages — particularly for microchips — to ease in coming months, restoring some normality to vehicle prices.

Until then, we’re living in an upside-down world where your car can actually become more valuable after you drive away from the dealer.