Not Just Gas Thatís Getting Unaffordable
I got a bit of a shock today when I made the run into town to buy
some oil for one of my vehicles. I use synthetic, usually Mobil
1 or Royal Purple. The stuff is now selling for almost $10
a quart. I am pretty sure that a year ago this time the same oil
was going for about $8 a quart. Even regular oil is much more expensive
than it used to be.
A quart of non-synthetic Pennzoil 10w-40 is about $5 a quart.
So, to do an oil change in a car that takes five quarts is now
at least $25 for the oil (not counting taxes) plus another couple
bucks for the filter call it $30, assuming you do the work
yourself. If you use synthetics, its closer to $60
and again, this assumes its you doing the actual oil changing.
In 2008 all of four years ago the same quart of non-synthetic
Pennzoil cost under $4.
I remember when it was $1.50 or so not all that long ago,
Inflation, speculation ultimately, these factors are academic.
What matters to the average person is that its getting uncomfortably
expensive to maintain a vehicle let alone several of them.
Ive got two trucks, an antique car, five motorcycles and a
bunch of farm equipment, including a tractor and a riding lawn mower.
They all need oil as much as they need gas.
And man, its starting to hurt!
I did a little figuring and discovered Im spending several
hundred bucks a year just on oil changes. And I do the work myself
which means the cost would be probably 30 percent higher
if I didnt.
Its a good thing that modern, fuel-injected vehicles can
go longer in between oil changes. If they still needed fresh oil
and a new filter every three months or 3,000 miles, we probably
couldnt afford to drive them anymore!
But if you have older vehicles that do need frequent oil/filter
changes, youre out of luck. Out of cash, actually. Theres
no good option: Either you accept paying 40-50 percent more to do
what is without question the most basic routine service after keeping
your tires at the correct inflation pressure. Assuming you can accept
it. Or you risk excessive/premature wear and bigger expense
arising from your failure to do those increasingly expensive
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columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2012 Eric Peters
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