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IPFS News Link • Transportation

The Cost of False Prosperity

•, By eric

They are still useful.

But what does that matter if you can't afford to buy one?

Pickups are now among the most expensive new vehicles on the market. In part, because of their size. No one sells a compact-sized, basic pick-up anymore (excepting the Ford Maverick, which is a hybrid car with a truck-looking body). The others – models like the Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger – which were compact-sized trucks and had starting prices in the low-mid teens as recently as the early-mid 2000s – are now mid-sized trucks almost as big as '90s era full-size trucks.

They are priced accordingly.

But it is the ballistic increase in the prices of current full-sized trucks that is most remarkable.

In 1989, Ford still made a basic work truck version of its popular F-150 pick-up. It came with an inline six engine, a manual transmission – and without air conditioning or power windows. That is why it only cost $11,001 dollars brand-new. A 2023 F-150 comes standard with power everything, AC, an automatic transmission and a V6 engine.

And that is why it stickers for $34,585.

Yes, there are 34 years of currency devaluation in between these two trucks. But even factoring in the devaluation of the buying power of the fiat dollar – the more accurate term for what is usually styled "inflation" – there is still a very real increase in the actual cost of a new F-150 vs. the cost of one back then amounting to around $8,000. Which amounts to around $3,500 in 1989 fiat dollars, or about a third again the cost of a brand-new 1989 F-150.