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Why, when the price of gas goes UP

A recurring phenomenon has me wondering,
Why, when the price of gas goes UP subsantially, do so many people dust off and repair for active duty their OLD vehicles ?
This Ford dealer shop looks like you’ve stepped into a time machine !
87 F150, 89 E150, 97 F150 , 85 LTD, 98 Contour, 01 Escort, 92 Explorer…and that’s just in the last week !
Three of those has rotten fuel and needed fuek tank steam cleaning with new fuel pumps too. They’re investing big bucks in getting these things back in service .
---- and this is not the first cycle of moldy oldies. ----
The last time fuel pushed 4 dollars, the same time machine appeared in our shop .

Great for business but a huge curiosity to say the least.
True , some people invest in a new high mileage vehicle at this point, but what is the mindset that brings out the OLD vehicles ?

and the story continues ;
Many of these oldies were un-driveable prior to being towed to the shop, being repaired for a daily driver after years sitting idle.
The 89 E150 needed both fuel tanks AND pumps, they were rusted through.
Just today a co-worker came through the parts dept and asked “who’s painting out here ?”
"that’s not paint…that’s GAS !"
And this is the third one with ‘turpentine’ for fuel when we emptied it out.

Hmmmm…people try to save money on the actual car purchase to have more in hand for gas?

People think that if they buy a vehicle from, say, 1989 that they will only have to pay 1989 gas prices? (“Oh, I remember back in the summer of '89 - it only cost me $20 to fill up my truck!”)

Sometimes it can make sense. I had an '85 escort that got better gas mileage than my '91 did. And the '91 got better mileage than my '97 does. But that won’t apply across the board and most people are clueless about it.

So … I just take things like this as one more small piece of evidence skepticism toward the belief that laissez-faire economics will always produce the best possible outcomes. For that to work, you need rational actors. Good luck with that.

Maybe they want to sell the old vehicles for gas money. Or maybe they will keep the old ones and sell their newer ones to make ends meet. The list you gave had few gas misers on it, though.

The thing I notice is all the old Benz diesels - you can’t kill them, folks must have them them under a tarp, just waiting for high gas prices.

and they’ll spend 2 or 3 times the vehicle’s worth to get it going again

I don’t think it has anything to do with gas prices, First, the price of a new house put them out of reach for most Americans…Today, the price of a new vehicle has put them out of reach too…What you are looking at is our standard of living slipping away…Car lots are asking (and getting) $10,000 for run-out beaters with over 100K miles on the clock…You can’t blame people for fixing up the beaters they already own…

Gas prices reflect the value of your money slipping away…When gas cost $0.25 cents a gallon, it was being pumped into cars that cost $3000-$4000 brand new…

I’m with Caddyman, and feel they couldn’t make payments on the new buggy, sold or had it repossessed and this is all they had left or could afford. I think it had more to do with the economy as a result of high energy costs.

I haven’t really noticed that phenomenon. But if you want to save a little on gas, monitor the Dow Jones. Fill your car up a couple of days after the stock market takes a hit. Pretty reliably, at least around here, gas will fall at least 5-10 cents a gallon, gasoline (crude oil) being a commodity like everything else.

I’m inclined to agree with Caddyman. I think we’re just seeing our standard of living slipping away and what you’re seeing is just one sign of it.

In 1964 the minimum wage was 1.15 dollars an hour. Gas cost about 30 cents a gallon, so you worked about 15 minutes for buy a gallon. Today the minimum wage is $7.25, and gas costs about $4.00 a gallon nationally, so you work about 35 minutes to buy a gallon. A 64 Impala got about 17 mpg. Today a 2012 Chevy Impala gets 22 mpg as a combined average. So, today you work 16 minutes to go 10 miles, and in 1964 you worked about 9 minutes.

So that looks like a loser.

But in 1964 life expectancy for a newborn was about 70 and in 2012 it is about 78.

So, today you live longer, but you can’t go as far. But you can sit in your car with air conditioning, power windows, cruise control, etc., and make cheap long distance calls. Not so in 1964.

Being alive now is OK with me.

It’s just a matter of zeros and where you put the decimal point…

The 89 E150 van ( raised top, custom conversion ) is now up and running, purrs like a kitten, and now it’s time for a good detailing and some drivers power window work.
The 01 Escort is running now but still waiting for this C/V shaft sitting on my counter.
The 97 F150 is next up for tank work.
The 87 still needs the frame fuel pump.
The rest are finished and out the door.

Five minutes ago a customer towed in their 04 F150, that’s not so old but they towed it here with their 86 Bronco !

That 99 E150 on the rack over there is just here for its regular oil change.

Great data Wentwest. Unfortunately, the rest of the cost of living has risen comparably too.
You all will love this trend chart of income vs. the cost of a house.
http://www.simplesustainable.com/topic/2463-melbournes-median-house-prices-vs-wages-1965-2010/

@wentwest
One could argue that the air quality was way worse back in '64 compared to today. Imagine what LA would look like if they hadn’t mandated the smog equipment they did 40 years ago.

I think spring time is when the old junks get pulled out of their dead zone parking and put up for sale to make the lot look cleaner. Fill the tank with sludge and I’ll drive it away.

@the same mountainbike -

That chart is absolutely crazy, but it would appear to be a localized (rather than national) market that oversimplifies things a bit.

First off, it compares median home prices to average wages. They should really compare median to median or average to average… For example, take the following sets of home values and wages for a sample of 5: home values = {100,100,100,10,10} wages= {50, 50,50,5,5}. The median home value is 100, and the average wage is 32, so the ratio of home value to income is 3.13:1. However, every single homeowner is at a 2:1 ratio, so the homes are actually more affordable than the comparison made in that chart shows.

Secondly, the chart makes no correction for mortgage interest rates. In 1982, the ratio shown would appear to be about 2.5, but the average 30 year mortgage ran 15%. Today those mortages run about 4.15%. So in 1982, to ensure your mortgage cost no more than 30% of your gross pretax income, you had to keep your home purchase to under 198% of your annual income. Today, because of the much lower rates, you can go as high as 514% of your annual income. The chart doesn’t display this effect at all - it assumes a constant # of years’ wages represents the same level of affordability, regardless of interest rates. Correcting for this effect, there was still an overheating market, but not nearly as much as the chart attempts to show.