Home "Road Ready!" Road Ready Episode 12: Plan for High Fuel Prices

Road Ready Episode 12: Plan for High Fuel Prices

by Moses Ludel
Oil companies assure us that high prices for fossil fuel will continue for years. American consumers are on their own. It’s time to make plans for how your household or business will juggle the high price of gasoline and diesel fuel.

85% of American workers depend on a personal vehicle for getting to work. Southern California commuters face the highest fuel prices in the nation, yet they still drive to work. Today, gasoline and diesel fuel are glaring line items for most household budgets in the United States. Oil companies state flatly that escalating fuel prices at the pump will be with us for several years.

Due to exorbitant housing costs and poor infrastructure planning within the L.A. Basin, many Southern California commuters travel long distances to work. Glaring examples would be driving from Mojave to Los Angeles or Adelanto to the Inland Empire each workday. Current major brand fuel prices for unleaded (Regular) approach seven dollars a gallon in these areas.

This is our fleet: A 2005 Ram-Cummins 3500 4WD Quad-Cab bought new; the 1999 XJ Cherokee purchased with 94K miles in 2005; and our recent acquisition, a one-owner 2003 VW Jetta TDI. Neither electric nor a hybrid, the Jetta TDI 1.9L delivers 45-plus miles per gallon at highway cruise and never gets less than 35 mpg under city use.

In recent episodes of the Road Ready Channel, the focus has been ways to reduce our fossil fuel use. In Episode 12, we make go forward plans for containing fossil fuel costs while simultaneously keeping a lid on overall vehicle expenses. Plans include changing axle gearing on the Ram Cummins turbo-diesel truck and even the possibility of making our own bio-fuel for the Ram and Jetta TDI if diesel fuel prices spike too high.

By all means, the totally electric Ford F-150 ‘Lightning’ deserves attention, and so does Ford Motor Company for taking this truck to market. Oil companies are older than Ford Motor Company and wealthier by far. Yet Big Oil has failed to commit seriously to alternative, renewable energy or address climate change in any meaningful way. Instead, its aim has been maximizing profit from our fossil fuel dependence. Faced with the current cost of fossil fuel, many consumers will sever their dependence on pump fuel and buy electric vehicles.. (Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company Media)

There are alternatives like electric vehicles. Many consumers will see the high price of fossil fuel as a deal breaker and switch to an EV. Ford has taken a bold initiative with its commitment to the F-150 ‘Lightning’. This could be the turning point for wide public acceptance of electric-powered light trucks and SUVs. Volkswagen and others are wholly committed to electric cars. Zero use of fossil fuel is better than hybrids that still use an internal combustion engine as part of the powertrain.

Many households are not in a position to jump into a new truck or car now. Housing, vehicles, food and other necessities have inflated in cost, too. Our vehicle fleet still consists of a gasoline powered Cherokee 4×4, the Ram Cummins pickup and the newly acquired, pre-owned VW Jetta TDI turbo-diesel. For now, we will make this work.

Currently, we are still committed to maintaining our fossil fuel vehicle fleet. Vehicle affordability and monthly overhead remain priorities for the magazine and Road Ready Channel. We service and maintain each of our vehicles within our shop, performing any and all routine maintenance plus repairs, tuning, tires, brakes, steering, axle, wheel alignment and powertrain work. We have saved tens of thousands of dollars by not subletting work to shops or a dealership. The Ram now has 184K miles, the Cherokee 192K miles and the VW Jetta reads 107K miles. Each has its needs, and we meet them!

4WD Mechanix Magazine, the 4WD Mechanix Forums and the Road Ready Channel focus on consumer needs. As a SEMA Member, we will continue to advocate for automotive aftermarket equipment and support vehicle accessorizing plus safe and legal modifications. We want your household to flourish and not just “survive”. The pressing issue is fuel efficiency and reducing our dependence on expensive fossil fuel. In the face of swelling inflation, we will focus on vehicle utility and the practical ways to navigate the cost of ownership.

Join Moses Ludel at the Road Ready Channel and subscribe for ongoing updates:

https://youtube.com/c/roadreadywithmosesludel

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