Gas Prices and Full Size Trucks

By admin

A gas station in my neck of the woods has lowered prices to around $2.50 per gallon. In these here parts that is the lowest we have seen in quite some time. And it makes me laugh. Not the bemused, satirical kind of laughter which you might expect coming from me being directed at some fad or group of people. This was more of a happy, giddy, celebration-type laughter one might find himself immersed in after winning a large bet.

You see, Papa Riah went out and purchased a new 8-cylinder, gas-guzzling full size pickup truck when gas prices were around $4.50 per gallon in August. If you listened to news commentators a few months ago, it was a sure thing that gas was going to be over $5 per gallon soon and stay that way forever.

Consequently full-sized truck sales came to a screeching halt over the summer, as the unwashed masses drove up the prices on hybrid vehicles so high you’d think they had diamond-studded steering wheels. Papa Riah wasn’t buying the hype, and neither was his brother-in-law Craig. Craig beat me by a month and purchased a brand new crew cab Ford F150 when gas prices were at their peak approaching $5 per gallon in June. The salesmen at the dealership literally had to go dust off the F150’s (which had been moved to the back of the lot) when he said he wanted to see them. They were almost giving the things away.

I like to buy my vehicles right. That means I purchase them 1 year old with less than 12,000 miles on them, and I hold out for a real deal. This summer I was in the market for a new vehicle and wanted a truck. I knew I was going to go with either the Chevy Silverado or a loaded Toyota Tacoma (and concede to the better mileage hysteria). But in my heart I wanted the Silverado and admired the defying of conventional logic which Craig had pulled off a month earlier. So I watched the used truck inventory at the local dealers on the internet closely, waiting for the right opportunity to come along.

As it turns out I wasn’t the only person working this angle as I missed a couple of the better looking deals by being slow on the trigger. I quickly gave up on the Tacoma idea though, because it became evident that one of those little trucks was going to cost me at least $4,000 more than what I really wanted anyway (even used), so there was no dilemma. It takes a long time to make up for $4,000 in better gas mileage even at $5 per gallon. There were a lot of Chevy trucks for sale out there, but I wanted a certified used from a dealer in one of three colors.

I finally picked it up in early August. A white one, 2007 model with 11,500 miles on it, new body style Silverado 1500, with the windows tinted just the way I like them. They accepted my offer of $18,900 on the asking price of $20,750. It is a perfect, flawless, new truck and I love the thing. Not bad considering brand new ones with zero miles sold in the mid thirties all day long when gas was under three bucks a gallon. (The finance person was quite flabbergasted when I explained how the purchasing of an extended warranty would defeat the purpose of buying a Certified Used Vehicle.)


Is there a lesson to be learned here? Only if you like money. There were plenty of brand new trucks like the one I wanted still priced in the low thirties at all the dealers when I was looking. If I were one of them rich folk who light cigars with hundred dollar bills I could have spent over ten grand more for essentially the same exact thing.

If you just have to buy your new cars absolutely new with close to zero miles because of the new car smell, you will pay dearly for that obsession. Why not purchase a spray bottle of new car smell for a couple dollars instead, buy the car one year used, and possibly save enough money to pay your kid’s college tuition for a year.

In general when there is any kind of mania in society, it’s usually profitable to be betting against it. This goes for just about anything – hot stocks, cold stocks, undefeated sports teams, tulips, and of course full size pickups. As those gas stations keep lowering the numbers on their signs my brother-in-law and I are laughing all the way to the bank.

Papa Riah

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