Taking a little break
The car world is kind of crazy right now, and truthfully I'm not loving it lately. There’s so many factors that have me falling a bit out of love with what has been my lifelong obsession. This has been something of an internal crisis of mine lately, but I have come to terms with it. Let me brief you if you’re not sure what I mean…
NEW AND SHINY The new car market is still a battleground due to supply, dealership issues, and the ripple effect that we still feel from chip shortage and pandemic influence. Prices are crazy, deals are few and far between and it’s very hard to secure a purchase on many things for some time now. Also, the car world rolled their eyes when the beginning of the year reported that the average price of a new car in the U.S. had finally crossed $40,000 and yet just six months later that figure is now north of $48k - which is roughly TEN THOUSAND more than this time last year.
USED CAR WONDERLAND Which leads to the arguably more insane market - the used car in 2022. I won’t fill 40 paragraphs on this topic, but used car prices are bonkers. Stuff that was going for 7400 dollars a year or two ago is now a 24k car. People are unloading lightly used cars for MSRP or sometimes more. There must be so many people ok with overpaying because everything seems to move at more and more ridiculous prices every week. This is not even considering the absolute silliness that has been going on in the collector/specialty used car market like https://bringatrailer.com/ which is equally if not more absurd than everything else and shows little signs of leveling out.
FUEL/CONSUMABLES We in North America have always had relatively lower fuel costs than most other places in the world, but it’s all we know so when it increases, we feel it too, even if we are just now paying what other countries did a decade ago. More is more - doesn’t matter where you started.
The DEGREE of more lately has been quite dramatic. Fuel has nearly doubled in cost and no matter how you slice it, that cuts into the fun of our hobby. I’m not suggesting that we all suddenly stop driving our cars and riding our motorcycles, etc - but it’s the extra stuff that starts being questioned or postponed.
While not car related, food/grocery cost has also risen noticeably. And personally the average monthly tab for food and fuel in my household is nearly $500 more each month than it was last year. It doesn’t keep me from driving but when it comes to things like track days, road trips, etc. - those things usually get paid for out of the extra money per month - and now that I have $500 less per month to “have fun” with, the car hobby has taken quite the back seat this year.
As cliché’ as it is as a 41yr old who recently bought a Corvette, I have taken up golf this year, since for the first time I can remember, it’s a FAR cheaper hobby than track days and the admission/insurance/consumable costs that come with that hobby.
EVERYTHING IS BONKERS So it’s a bad time to buy a car. It’s a good time to SELL one, apparently, but if that sale means you’re replacing it with something else, it’s not good because it’s a bad time to buy a car! While I'm not buying or selling (thankfully), since it’s also a bad time to spend extra money, driving activities are harder to work into my life.
It really takes a toll on me as an enthusiast, especially the first year with a new (to me) amazing sports car in the stable that I'm not using as much as I would’ve any other previous year of my life. It was hard enough to justify buying a fairly expensive (for me at least) fun car to begin with, but when it’s not being driven as much or how I intended, it really starts feeling silly.
Now, that’s not to say I regret buying it. I ADORE this car. It is NOT for sale, so don’t blow up my inbox. Hopefully things will ease back to normal in the near future, and more disposable money will be left over each month than it is nowadays. When that happens, I am quite sure that I’ll rekindle my love for performance driving and the car hobby in general. But for now, I'm just taking a bit of a break from it being my #1 hobby.
I write and I know things. I am also the resident motorcycle expert at Everyday Driver - check out the Cycle Report - www.thecyclereport.com - on our YouTube channel. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and may not align with the founders of Everyday Driver.