I think that before very long a large proportion of the population who have routinely enjoyed the benefits of motoring will be forced off the roads.
A few weeks ago I was posting things all over the net about the impending doom that we were facing and even I thought that perhaps I was a bit of an Oddbod.
Not anymore. Big names like Sir Richard Branson are now openly forecasting an ‘Oil Crunch’ within five years.
The less well off motorists must by now be able to see the end of the road looming up towards them.
I am one such motorist. I am officially living well below the poverty line. I manage to run a home and a family on almost a ‘Third World’ income.
I will tell you how much. £180 per week, scary stuff eh? I am not complaining though. I live in an area with a crippled economy by choice. In 1990 I was working away and earning £1000 per week. Even as far back as 1980 I was earning £225 per week but I have just lowered my sights and got better at living a realistic life.
As I said in earlier postings, I drive a pretty good car, a 2001 Mercedes Benz, and it’s a petrol. Not too shabby eh? But I am worried. I am fairly sure that the Merc will have to go but I do not intend to give up motoring.
I cycle as much as I can. I have a 125cc four stroke motorbike for fetching and carrying and I walk a lot too.
The trouble is I live in the countryside. There is nothing on my doorstep, the nearest town is seven miles away and the nearest town with any decent shops is thirty.
I have to keep motoring, so how can I? How can we, the poorer motorist hang on to the car?
The first thing to do is to ask our self what else we can economise on to extend our motoring life.
Then we have to take a look at the car. Mine is an obvious fail. Twenty five to the gallon is optimistic for my Merc and I already made all the necessary sacrifices so that I could run her.
So the first place for me to look is at economical and also home serviceable cars.
I mentioned the wonderful little Renault Clio DCi in an earlier post. It’s good but it has its problems for the likes of me.
For a start, the economy will go pear shaped at the same time as the Oil Crunch bites. That will mean that everything else gets more expensive and taking my car to a garage with diagnostics will be way out of my reach.
The DCi is a modern generation car with an ecu. It is also a common rail diesel engine that cannot function without an ecu so realistically speaking it is not going to be a long term prospect for me.
There are some cars though, that although they may be of an earlier type, are absolute gems.
If you want to look at petrol engine cars there are also some little gems. The petrol engine appeals to more people who like to tinker because they are easier to work on.
If you want mega reliability there are several choices among the earlier Japanese cars. In short, a car with either Honda or Nissan stamped on the engine is almost bullet proof.
Once you have put away the need to have the latest toy and returned to being a normal British, make do and mend person, you can actually start to enjoy the challenges that present themselves. Squeezing an extra few mpg out of some old ‘Fart Box’ can be fun.
If you want to get cracking with something for the frugal future I can’t fault you. Sod the idea of keeping up with the Jones’s. It’s a pathetic notion.
We live such pallid existences today compared with those of a few years ago when we were tinkering around in sheds and helping each other with ideas.
My advice to you would be to chose your future frugal Steed and then grab another for bits and a few spares here and there. Look into ways of squeezing a bit more out of it and also mess around with alternative fuels, just enjoy yourself.
I will add to this with some links to people’s ideas and also continue with motorcycles. It really does get exciting trying to get some serious mpg out of a little bike and it’s as cheap as chips at the moment.
Keep watching this space.