Fuel crisis, what fuel crisis?

| 30 Mar 2012

The UK fuel panic – it is not yet a crisis, or at least wouldn't be if it weren't for the idiotic panic that runs the risk of the people who really need petrol not being able to get it – brings to mind the last major shortage in 2000.

The then-fledgling Goodwood Revival looked set to be scuppered as blockades halted deliveries all over the UK.

But, as ever, the classic car enthusiasts found a way and turned out en masse.

Goodwood found a way, too, by laying on vintage buses to ferry people from Chichester station to the circuit.

The result was one of the best atmospheres I can remember at the event, the camaraderie outstripping the pain because for so many it was an achievement just to have got there.

An achievement, but not necessarily a hardship.

The C&SC team convoyed down with all our classics and no hassles. The reason was that back then there was a filling station in Feltham that still sold leaded fuel.

Sure it was pricey, but as other cars indicated to pull in and then jagged back on to the road as they saw the "sorry, no fuel" signs, we just cruised on to the forecourt in and casually filled up.

This had an unwelcome effect in that other motorists saw this happening and decided to do the same.

In their fuel frenzy, they simply could not be convinced – as we tried to politely explain – that this petrol would do serious damage to their car.

"Don't care, need fuel."

How bizarre is that? I guess at that time a full tank might have set them back £40 whereas a new cat would have run to several hundred.

And a bus ticket probably £1. 

So, as I drove into work today, the Elan +2's fuel warning light flickering ominously, but all the stations either dry or besieged by apocalyptic panic (all it needed to complete the picture was a few shotguns being brandished), I resolved that – mirroring my attitude to classic cars as a whole and the threat that one day their use might be restricted – I will simply have my fun in my classic until I can't anymore.

And then I will take public transport. That bit doesn't reflect what I will do if/when classics are restricted or banned, of course.

Unless I can find a garage selling leaded nearby,,,