We have significant advantages over motorists of 1973 crisis

Torbay Weekly

We are experiencing uncomfortable and sudden price lifts at the pumps thanks to the hostilities in Eastern Europe.

Two weeks ago, £6 per gallon to now nearly £8 per gallon comes as a shock.

Many will remember similar rises as a result of a war in the Middle East between Israel and Egypt in 1973.

More significantly, that crisis reduced supply sufficiently that fuel rationing took place at filling stations up and down the country.

I worked at one car dealership which had Amoco pumps on the forecourt and we rationed cars to five gallons a time and also introduced alternate days for registration numbers so that plates ending with an even number got served one day, and an odd number the next.

Resourceful folk even bought a different car with a suitable plate to keep themselves mobile.

The knock-on effect was dramatic to car sales with the latest V12 Jaguars and 7 litre Jensens halving in value overnight.

Even 3 litre Ford Zodiacs were badly hit. Rolls Royce and Bentley cars likewise, in fact anything over 2 litres was impossible to sell.

Our dealership was offered incredible bargains at the time but just could not risk the investment. Aston Martin DB5s for around £1,500 if you please.

Today, however, the issue we face is not supply shortage but just uncomfortable price increases and we have a significant advantage over the 1973 crisis.

Our cars have developed over the years to become superbly economical and 70-80mpg is easily achievable today.

Our family cars of the 1970s were not especially frugal.

The popular VW Beetle only averaged 26mpg and the best selling Cortina much the same.

Pity the Jensen owner at just 8mpg on a good day! Fuel economy was much less relevant then and manufacturers have seriously upped their game since.

Petrol was 50p per gallon in 1974 which index links to just under £4 today.

So, while fuel is effectively twice what it was, our cars go twice as far, unless you own a Jensen Interceptor that is!

£1 per mile? Ouch!