Contrary to popular belief, buying a vehicle through an online-buying service or from an online "direct" seller will mean paying more, not less, than simply visiting a conventional dealership. In CNW Marketing Research's fourth such new-vehicle price analysis, actual confirmed prices for various types of vehicles were 4.6 percent higher online than off line. In dollars, the difference between online and conventional dealer prices for identical cars and trucks averaged nearly $1,400. In three of the four studies -- excluding 1995 -- conventional auto dealerships owned and operated locally rather than being part of a large public or private chain quoted the lowest prices.The study used mystery shoppers and looked at prices from public superstores such as AutoNation, privately owned mega chains, conventional single-owner small- to medium-sized dealerships, online buying services such as CarPoint, and online direct sellers such as CarsDirect.com. In all cases, mystery shoppers negotiated the best possible price. The studies have been conducted every other year since 1995.