A shortage of computer chips that sent auto prices soaring had appeared, finally, to be easing back in the spring.
Some relief for consumers seemed to be in sight.
That hope has now dimmed.
A surge in COVID-19 cases from the delta variant in several Asian countries that are the main producers of auto-grade chips is worsening the supply shortage.
It is further slowing any return to normal auto production and keeping the supply of vehicles artificially low.
And that means, analysts say, that record-high consumer prices for vehicles will extend into next year and might not fall back toward earth until 2023.