The price is ripe

| July 31, 2001

Ridzon remembers paying $82 for a new Star tire in the late ’60s. French says that new steer axle tires cost him $90 to $120 in the early ’70s and recaps were $60 to $70. Today, the price of a recap, at close to $200, is more than a new tire was 30 or 40 years ago.

Other than the major expenses, the little items in every trucker’s budget have also seen varying degrees of price hikes. In the 1960s, a Norelco electric shaver went for less than $24. Today, a Norelco shaver can cost $90 to $160. Hanes T-Shirts used to be three for $2.95, and today they are $4 each. Frisko jeans used to be $4.95 a pair; brands such as Wranglers and Levi’s now cost $30 to $50.

In the 1960s, spending the night on the road cost $5 at Perry’s in Hope, Ark., or $25 at a swanky hotel. If you didn’t need a bath, rooms were even cheaper at the friendly Frontier Hotel in Denver: A room without a bath was about $2.

Ridzon remembers paying $1.50 for a full breakfast. Even cheaper was fast food in 1961 – a cheeseburger went for 20 cents, and fries, as well as many beverages, cost a dime.

Renner remembers eating at a steakhouse in the Southeast in 1964. “I had a filet mignon with bacon around it and all the trimmings for $4.50,” he says.

French recalls paying 10 cents for coffee, though in most places that’s gone up more than six-fold. “I don’t know why I’m so worried about fuel costs – I’m paying $6 a gallon for coffee,” he says. “But at 3 to 4 miles per gallon of diesel, I’m getting better mileage from the coffee.”

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