QOTD: What Would It Take to Change Your Mind?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd what would it take to change your mind

Remember the grim days of 2011-2014? Sure, they weren’t as grim as, say, 2008-2009, but if you remained employed — and owned a car — during both of these periods, you’ll remember the cratering of gas prices during the recession and the subsequent upswing. That upswing turned into a plateau, where lofty prices at the pump compelled many Americans to rekindle a romance with a small, fuel-efficient car.

The early summer of 2014 brought relief. A lot of it. Prices plunged, remaining relatively low ever since. Everyone and their mother rejoiced, then rushed to their local dealer to buy an SUV.

As of late, though, prices are again on the rise — especially if you live on the West Coast or north of the border. The national U.S. average pump price for regular unleaded hovers around $2.70/gallon this morning, but take a trip north and you’ll find a country where wallets are hoovered at every gas station in the land. National average price in Canada? Rising above $4.80/gallon today.

It’s enough to make you take a long, hard look at what’s sitting in your driveway.

Most people have a mental gas price threshold that, once crossed, grates on their psyche every time they fill up. Maybe it’s $3/gallon, maybe it’s $4/gallon, but for drivers who aren’t loaded to the gunwales with cash, there’s a limit to what they’ll happily pay for a gallon of 87 octane. Any higher, and thoughts of efficient little economy cars fill the mind.

Damn oil companies, damn government, damn OPEC — I’ll stick it to all of ’em by sipping this stuff like it’s single malt scotch, not Pabst.

Prices are expected to continue their ascent as summer driving season approaches and OPEC nations continue suppressing supply in a bid to elevate the price of a barrel of crude. That road trip you’ve got planned in July will almost certainly drain more dough from your bank account than last year’s.

In the spring of 2014, as local gas prices hit roughly $5.15/gallon, I said screw it and bought a Chevy Cruze Eco. Diesel-like highway mileage ensued. Take that, jerks. Of course, it would take some sort of cataclysm for such a price to appear outside a Sunoco station in America’s heartland, you never know what the future holds.

What’s your limit? How expensive does gasoline have to become before you consider any type of vehicular change? What would it take for you to supplement your Ram 1500 with an Accent, or switch your impending new car purchase from a V6 Charger to a four-cylinder Fusion?

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2 of 203 comments
  • Instant_Karma Instant_Karma on Apr 13, 2018

    Here in rural Texas, land of the full size truck, the most annoying thing about the last gas spike were the Silverado, Ram and F-series owners puttering along doing 60 in a 70 MPH zone trying to save a MPG or two. I left my farm-plate Silverado parked and drove my 99 Civic hatchback. I drive the Civic the most anyhow because it's more fun to drive than a lumbering behemoth that gets about half the mileage hauling nothing but air around. My truck should last forever that way, I'll just spend 3 grand or so on another 4-cylinder beater car when this Civic gets used up.

  • JD-Shifty JD-Shifty on Apr 14, 2018

    Still getting 20-22 mpg in my 96 S-10 4.3 that has been paid off for decades. PLPD and about 250 per year in maintenance.why would I go buy a 4 cyl car?

  • Jeff S Still a nice car and I remember these very well especially in this shade of green. The headlights were vacuum controlled. I always liked the 67 thru 72 LTDs after that I found them bloated. Had a friend in college with a 2 door 71 LTD which I drove a couple of times it was a nice car.
  • John H Last week after 83 days, dealership said mine needs new engine now. They found metal in oil. Potential 8 to 9 month wait.
  • Dukeisduke An aunt and uncle of mine traded their '70 T-Bird (Beakbird) for a brand-new dark metallic green '75 LTD two-door, fully loaded. My uncle hated seat belts, so the first time I saw the car (it was so new that the '75 models had just landed at the dealerships) he proudly showed me how he'd pulled the front seat belts all the way out of their retractors, and cut the webbing with a razor blade(!).Just a year later, they traded it in for a new '76 Cadillac Coupe de Ville (they had owned a couple of Imperials in the '60s), and I imagine the Cadillac dealer took a chunk out to the trade-in, to get the front seat belts replaced.
  • CaddyDaddy Lease fodder that in 6 years will be on the 3rd owner in a poverty bound aspirational individual's backyard in a sub par neighborhood sinking into the dirt. The lending bank will not even want to repossess and take possession of this boat anchor of a toxic waste dump. This proves that EVs are not even close to being ready for prime time (let's not even talk about electrical infrastructure). EVs only exist in wildly expensive virtue signaling status-mobiles. FAIL! I know this is a Hybrid, but it's a Merc., so it will quickly die after the warranty. Show me a practical EV for the masses and I'll listen. At this time, Hybrids are about the way to go for most needing basic transportation.
  • Jeanbaptiste The bubble free dash on the R32!