Will There Be Cars

I’ve read dozens of blogs and websites and all talk about their ideal post apocalypse vehicle. Some have their top favourites, or a list of fantasy vehicles they dream of having to scour the wasteland in search of fuel. But will there still be vehicles you can drive after the apocalypse and for how long?

Depending on how things go down will determine how many functioning cars will be left at the start of things. In the event of a nuclear war there will be very few cars left. Anything near a big city will either have had its electrical systems permanently fried, or destroyed in the blast. This will only leave whatever cars were on the highway or in towns that were far enough from cities not to have been a target. If it was a pandemic, you pretty much have you’re pick of whatever you want.

How much fuel will be left is the next question. Even in the event of a nuclear attack there will be plenty to go round as long as you know where to get it. Refineries are not targets for nukes, unless a terrorist decides to use a dirty bomb to blow one up. Many will be untouched and if the survivors are able to keep it powered and have a general idea of how everything works, there’s no reason they couldn’t keep it running for years after. These refineries may even be the foundation for whatever new civilization emerges from the ruins. Think of the Road Warrior for example. If the survivors in the refinery hadn’t been terrorized by The Humongous and his gang that refinery would have eventually become a town and a major trading center.

Even if all the refineries, off shore oil platforms, oil derricks, and thousands of miles of pipeline are all wiped out, there will be those who find other ways to power cars. Methane and alcohol powered cars are a reality. With the right knowledge a car can be converted to use these alternative fuels. Plus there will be all those abandoned cars along the side of the road, especially on the highways near the ruined cities where you can “borrow” gas. Just remember to bring lots of mints because gas tastes terrible.

Now there’s the question of spare parts, everything from tires to those much coveted fuzzy dice will eventually need to be repaired and replaced. The immediate though temporary solution to this is to cannibalize other cars for their parts. This is what the military does when they buy a new vehicle. They essentially have two fleets of vehicles, one that is operational, and a second that is used as parts. This saves the military money on their annual budget from having to spend money on contracts with defence companies.

Of course this is just a short term solution, eventually after a few years you’re going to need to start making replacement parts from scratch or entire vehicles. Sounds impossible right? Wrong how do you think the Ford Model T was built, by hand? Acquiring the people who have the knowledge to build machined parts from scratch will be the real challenge, but there are people out there who have that knowledge


  1. I have a few ideas on this concept. Personally if it were me I'd try to weigh in fuel usage vs storage and how many people you're with.

    Assuming you're with a group I'm thinking a four door truck or SUV, with the idea in mind that you can tow a small to medium sized trailer home.

    To me this seems like a reasonable idea because it offers luxuries like storage, shelter, and some utilities which run off of propane. Propane would be easily found in the back yards of the dead or fled all one has to do is look for out door barbecues.

    So with that idea in mind I would, at least in the beginning, go for a larger vehicle able to tow and hold.

    If it wasn't feasible to do this I would go for a highly fuel efficient car. Something which would be easy to maintain.

  2. You know I never even thought of propane as an alternative fuel source, good idea. Fuel usage and storage are big things to consider. Trucks are excelent choices for the post apocalypse, but not ever truck is equal. For me I would stick with domestic models due to the higher amount of available spare parts. Also a winch and a large tool box would be my first add-ons

  3. OK... Let's try this again...

    What I wrote before was something similar to this: I was thinking it would be in the best interest of a survivor in this scenario to try to find at least a few professional auto mechanics that could, in time, be trusted, and band together with them. Of course, it would also be great if you could eventually find someone with medical experience you could trust, as well, to have join your group but that may prove a goal too difficult to achieve. But, anything is possible.

    Your advice and instructions on cannibalizing cars on the sides of the road is all good. Great post!

    My other comment was longer and better thought out but this was about the gist of it.