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The Boston Globe

Business

Small mileage differences mean big price differentials

WASHINGTON — Retailers have long known that tiny changes in price can have a huge impact on consumer psychology. An item listed at $9.99 sounds cheaper than one listed at $10. But does this effect ever pop up anywhere else?

In the used-car market, apparently. A paper from the National Bureau for Economic Research says the price of a used car plummets by $448, on average, every time it crosses a 10,000-mile threshold on the odometer. That is fairly unexpected. A car with 29,999 miles on it is not much different in value from a car with 30,000 miles on it.

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