Still Hammerin’
Rob Fortier headshot
Our Future typography

s I sit here writing this—late, as usual—I’m once again fighting the “what ifs” that constantly like to party in my head. This time, the occasion is the future of our hobby, or, more importantly, how far are we willing to go to keep it and the “prehistoric” vehicles we love alive and running?

Not to intentionally be the doom-and-gloom pessimist I’m famous for, but this particular thought party always seems to rage after filling up at the pump, receiving a registration renewal notice in the mail, or simply trying to purchase any performance parts.

While the price of gasoline in this fine state of California has “slightly” come down since surpassing the $5 mark not too long ago, I don’t see it ever going back anywhere near reasonable pricing—at least not here. I was astonished when E85, normally significantly cheaper than regular petroleum fuel, creeped up right behind the cost of unleaded over the holidays (it’s since come down a little, but not what it was before all this madness began). With 2035 approaching quicker than I’m willing admit, and the EV mandate looming over our heads, what does the future of fossil fuels really hold in store for us?

What are we willing to pay for a gallon of gas, let alone a tank full? Is $10 per gallon unreasonable? I think that estimate is being very conservative, no pun intended. I won’t be a bit surprised if big brother does everything in its “power” to price us out of our cherished antiquities. With the rise of fuel comes the rise of oil, obviously, and I’m sure everything else non-EVs require to remain roadworthy (coolant, additives, and so on). About the only thing that likely won’t escalate in price: batteries! I don’t know about you, but if I can afford it, I’ll continue to pay and sacrifice whatever it takes to keep my cars/trucks AND motorcycles on the road … with me behind the wheels (and handlebars!).

I won’t get into the aspects of electric power as it applies to classic trucks, but I will say that at this point in time I have no intention of building one let alone owning anything of the sort. My views on electric vehicles as they apply to us in general may be a bit on the extreme side, as I don’t think the whole “carbon neutral” plan has been properly thought out, and once 2035 rolls around we may be in for a big surprise. But that’s just me, and that’s primarily why I’ll leave that opinion out of this conversation … for now!

Another aspect that may—or may not—apply to the cost of keeping classics on the road has nothing to do with the mechanical aspects, rather, the legal aspects: in other words, titling/registration fees and insurance, as well as local and federal laws to pertain to how, when, and where we’ll be able to drive classic vehicles. I won’t use California as an example when it comes to the absurd amount of taxes they add onto register/title ANY vehicle nowadays, and I truly hope other states do not follow suit, but who knows what the future holds? Will there come a time when any vehicle deemed “classic” become relegated to “parade only” status? I sure hope not, but you never know what kind of crazy stuff they can come up with.

Again, this is purely my pessimistic speculation talking—let’s hope it’s (mostly) all conspiracy theory talk, as it were. I want nothing more than to enjoy this great hobby of ours, unrestricted for the most part, as long as I’m able to! Period.