Woburn, Massachusetts - The true colour of depreciation is black while the most financially savvy car buyers choose yellow, according to a study conducted by iSeeCars.com.

The US-based car search engine analysed over 20 million used cars - which were listed for sale last year - across all categories and spanning the model years 1981 to 2010. The company calculated the depreciation on each car based on its original sticker price (adjusted for inflation), its used car listing price and its age. Although using the actual selling prices would have made for more accurate results, this was clearly not logistically possible for a survey of this size.

The search engine aggregated cars of the same colour to determine the average depreciation over five years.

Yellow cars showed the lowest depreciation, at 26.2 percent over five years, closely followed by orange (27.6 percent) and green (31.3 percent). The more common colours like white, silver, grey and black accounted for the highest depreciation, respectively ranging from 33.7 percent to 34.4 percent.

The average depreciation for a car over the five-year period, according to the study, was 33.6 percent.

Surely this all goes against conventional wisdom?

Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars.com, explained: “While a popular car colour like black or silver may get more interest and sell faster, our analysis indicates it may not get as high a value as a car, say, in yellow.

“Scarcity may account for the difference - only 1.1% of all cars are yellow and orange; if teal and green are included, the percentage still goes up to just 5%. The dearth of supply of such colours may drive prices up.”

THE FULL LIST

Average depreciation over five years:

Yellow - 26.2%

Orange - 27.6%

Green - 31.3%

Teal - 31.4%

Red - 31.7%

Beige - 33.3%

Brown - 33.3%

Gold - 33.3%

Blue - 33.6%

White - 33.7%

Silver - 34.0%

Gray - 34.2%

Black - 34.4%