Posted by Valley Financial Group and Billy Wolfe Jr.
We all remember our first love, perfect in every way, beautiful from every angle, and from the moment you first locked eyes, you knew that you were made to be together. For some a certain person may have come to mind, but for the majority of us I just described your first car. Nothing will ever quite match the feeling of pure freedom the first time you started the engine and drove off with no one sitting to your right. No longer would you have to nag your friends, parents and siblings for rides everyday. No longer would you have to practice driving with your mother or father screaming at you about seemingly every little aspect of driving that you have yet to perfect.
The years go by, the price of freedom for new drivers is climbing steadily, obviously due to the inflation of the US dollar. In the 1950s, Chevrolet sold over 13 million cars, making it by far the most popular brand of the era, with makes such as the Bel Air, the Chevy Pickup Truck, the Suburban, and of course, beginning in 1958, the famous Chevy Impala. A brand new Impala went for $2,695 in 1958, which is astoundingly low as compared to prices today. In the 60, the average new car went for $2,572, with the most popular cars of the era including the Ford Mustang, the Chevy Camaro which debuted in '66, and the Plymouth Roadrunner. In the 70s, we began to see a greater fluctuation in pricing, with the average for a new car rising to $3,542, with the most popular car being a toss up between the Chevy Impala and the Oldsmobile Cutlass, depending on who you ask. The price once again jumped in the 80s, when you would need an average of a whopping $7,000 to buy a brand new car. The 90s saw the biggest jump in inflationary price level, with an average of $9,432 buying you a car in 1990, which jumped all the way to $13,600 by just 1996.Popular cars included the Ford Escort, the Volkswagen Gulf and the BMW 3 series.
Now this is where it gets shocking. The year 2000 doesn't seem all that long ago does it? Seventeen years ago a new car set you back an average of $24,750. In 2017, an average car cost $33,666. The price change from 2000 to now is surprising enough, let alone the drastic difference between the present and the '50s. It makes you ponder is inflation growing greater than what we are sometimes told on the airways and is our money correctly allocated to help us make these purchases in the future. But no matter the monetary cost of a new car, that sense of freedom we experience the first time we truly know that we can go anywhere we want, whenever we want (as long as you make it home before curfew) is a priceless and indescribable sensation that we may only experience that first time we turn the key. The steadily climbing prices continue to make this feeling harder to obtain for more and more new drivers, but even as the prices rise, they will never be able to slap a price tag on the love we shared with our first car.