NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If you’ve been thinking of selling your car now could be the time. Dealers are paying top dollar to get their hands on used vehicles.

Nationally, used car prices nationally are at a 16-year high. “Independent dealers, like myself, are giving top dollar for cars,” said Phil Lathrop, with the Texas Independent Automobile Dealers Association in Dallas. “And we also sell cars to people that we do the financing for, which makes us really able to give a little more for a used car than you might get at a new car trade-in.”

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Lathrop says people hanging onto their cars longer. “Whenever new car sales slow down then the number of used cars available in the market slows down as well.”

There are a number of factors reducing the number of used cars available including – high gas prices, natural disasters and federal incentive programs, for both new and used cars.

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“The last couple of years have been flat and people are hanging onto their cars, not trading them in as much,” said Lathrop. “So, supply and demand takes over and there’s more buyers than there are sellers and that drives prices up.”

According to Lathrop, North Texas dealers are offering as much as 15-percent more than usual for used vehicles.

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But industry analysts say if the offer sounds enticing you need to give up your car now, because leasing a new vehicle is cheaper than buying new or used, so they expect used car prices to drop next year.