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Internal Combustion

Posted by RedTR250 on May 10, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Everyone in the US seems to be complaining about gasoline prices, which have increased almost a dollar a gallon in the last few months. I know the cost is (and has been) higher in other parts of the world; it's still a kick in the shins of our fragile economy. As if the effects of supply and demand were not enough to rattle a shaky market, investors and speculators have managed to enrich petroleum producers to degrees that would embarrass other businesses that are, unlike Big Oil, not aligned with Satan.


Without spending more time talking about how we all came to be in this mess, let me say I am feeling the pressure that rising fuel costs have piled on my budget. I live in a rural area and have no public transportation options, so I must commute by car. My well-worn Japanese daily driver delivers 30 MPG if I drive as I know I should. That kind of gasoline mileage is reasonable as it is, but I think my next car will have to do better! There's no telling how much higher fuel costs will climb in the months and years ahead.


Where does this leave classic car enthusiasts? I mean, I love working on my Triumph, or cleaning it, or talking about it online. Heck, I even like to stand in the garage for hours at a time (please don't tell my wife), gazing at my car lovingly. But you're supposed to drive these old machines!


I often refer to my TR250 as a "sunny day daily driver" because I choose The Sporty Red Car every chance I get. As I mentioned, I live in the boondocks, and the best part of my commute is when I escape the six lanes of minivan and SUV congestion around where I work and simply motor about the twisty backwoods blacktop of Ohio. My vehicle is insured for any and all uses, with no restrictions. I built the car to drive it, and most of the effort was intended to make the Triumph as reliable and safe as possible. Seems to be working pretty well so far.


I have mixed feelings now. I strive to make every drop of gasoline count. Like many other Americans, I've cut back on the number of miles I drive every week. I've tried to be more fuel-efficient—I analyze each prospective trip and decide if it's really necessary or could it perhaps be combined with another errand or deferred altogether. Are we really out of antibiotics? How high can we let the grass grow before the authorities intercede?


I have conflicting feelings about how pleasure driving fits into this new reality. Motoring around in The Sporty Red Car is one of my favorite pastimes (obviously) and it's becoming more difficult to muster the cash to fund our little excursions. My wife and I used to fill the tank on a sunny day and just go get lost. Not only is a full tank well past fifty bucks nowadays, I feel bad about "wasting" a precious commodity.


Oh, well. If I don't drive my classic British roadster, who will?

Categories: The Motoring Experience, Opinionated Opinions, The Classic British Car Obsession