Fuel crisis? Maybe not

The rise in fuel prices is worrying for those of us who drive for the sake of driving, rather than just to get somewhere. Yet it pays to look at more than the headline figures, or that way madness lies.

Filling up

Fuel prices are on everyone's mind at the moment

I still maintain that nothing is cheaper to run than a classic. Yes, you need to be able to tinker with it yourself to reap the maximum benefits and yes, you’ll find that you have to tinker with it more than a modern car – when a brand new car only needs servicing every 2 years and your trusty classic needs an oil change every 3000 miles, the advantage does seem reduced.

That said, good old fashioned mineral oil is still very cheap to buy – sometimes as little as £6 for 5 litres. That’s a cheap service, especially if you’ve upgraded the distributor to electronic and therefore don’t have to worry about the points and condenser anymore. You also get the buzz of doing the work yourself rather than be left reeling with a main dealer service bill.

Depreciation is the biggest cost with a new car, and if you don’t buy sensibly, your shiny new car can cost thousands per year, even if you don’t drive it! That’s why I always go for an older car. Let someone else pay the depreciation and then you’re only liable for servicing and running costs.

On the face of it, it may seem that selling the Land Rover proves what a hypocrite I am. Here I am saying don’t worry about fuel prices when I’ve sold my fearsomely thirsty V8 powered Landy just as fuel prices get as high as they’ve ever been. Not so. Anyone who knows me well knows that boredom is the biggest danger for any vehicle I buy. Is the Landy value for money? I don’t think so. That’s why it’s getting the heave-ho.

To entirely banish any thoughts of me trying to save fuel, I should point out that I’m selling my 54mpg Citroen BX diesel. Replacing both vehicles is a car that comes somewhere between the two – the Reliant Scimitar. This should achieve anywhere between 20 and 32mpg – I look forward to finding out which figure it ends up nearer. Sure, I’m somewhat daunted by the possibility of a £100+ fill-up thanks to the 77-litre fuel tank, but whatever the fuel prices do, I’m determined to keep enjoying 0lder cars. At the end of the day, higher fuel prices don’t scare me – the thought of the stuff running out really does though…