Dear Car Talk:
My husband and I are doomsday preppers. We're moving to Florida and want to buy a vehicle that will give us the most flexibility in the event of various possible disasters (e.g., EMP, lack of available conventional gasoline, worthless money, etc.). Assuming for a moment that we're right about future disaster scenarios, do you have any suggestions, other than a bicycle or rickshaw? Natural-gas-powered Honda Civic? Diesel/biodiesel? Which would give us the most options? Thank you.
In Florida? I think a pontoon boat would be my vehicle of choice, Lynne.
I think natural disasters are far more likely to hit Florida than anarchy and lawlessness -- although Florida has been ground zero for both hanging chads and spring break, so you do have a point, Lynne.
But if your concerns are surviving electromagnetic pulse attacks and worthless money, then you want to go with diesel. Unlike gasoline engines, diesel engines don't require spark, so engine electronics become a nonfactor. Your diesel engine would run after an EMP attack, assuming you can get it started without a battery.
So you'll need to get a stick-shift car, and live on a hill so you can roll-start it. I don't think there are many hills in Florida, so you'll have to build one. Or maybe you can buy a house next to a large waterslide?
And if money is worthless, you would need to have your own supply of fuel. Again, diesel would be the choice here. You could bury a couple of 500-gallon tanks in your backyard and store your diesel fuel indefinitely.
Then, when disaster strikes, you could either hang around your compound and make forays out to the abandoned 7-Eleven to loot Slurpees, or you could fill up the back of your car with jerrycans of diesel fuel, and start driving -- if you think fuel is more valuable than food and water.
Where would you go? I have no idea. But you'd have to somehow get around all the dead cars clogging the highways after the EMP attack.
That brings me back to the pontoon boat, Lynne. And a map of Cuba. Good luck.