Iceland's the one country with a currency rate falling further than the dollar and according to the front-pager today in the Wall Street
Journal it's having a serious impact on our hoonage-loving brethren from the land of the ice and snow. As those of us here have known ever since we saw Richard Hammond try to outrun a man
driving on water — their only real escape is on nitrous-injected, giant-wheeled trucks which they throw at the mountainous landscape with the greatest of abandon. Unfortunately ballooning debt payments, punishing fuel prices and a cratering currency are all such buzz-kills. The Journal's Marcus Walker tells the story:
"Sveinbjörn Halldórsson, a 44-year-old real-estate agent from Reykjavík, drives a Chevy S10 pickup with a souped-up engine, 44-inch tires with spikes, and four kinds of radios and phones on the dashboard. Filling up the truck's 240-liter tank (about 63 gallons) for the weekend costs him nearly $500, with gas costing $7.84 a gallon. He rolls with one of many so-called gangs on Iceland's highly competitive 4x4 off-road vehicle scene...A once-booming real-estate market is now in free-fall. Last year, Mr. Halldórsson's company sold 30 apartments a month. Last month it sold three. "When the phone rings now, the noise shocks everybody," he says. As his payments balloon and times get tougher, he's having to skip jeep trips, including his gang's annual five-day glacier expedition later this month."Young Icelandic hoons are apparently even taking to the streets in protest. The Journal continues:
Samúel "Wolf" Thór Gudjónsson, a lanky 21-year-old electrician with long blond rocker's hair, joined with dozens of other jeep fans earlier this month to protest climbing fuel prices, blocking oil companies' depots. Others drove their jeeps through the city's streets at 5 miles an hour to demand cuts in fuel taxes.You go, you young hoons of Iceland. Remember — they may take our tricked out jeep-truck rock-crawlers, they may kill our cheap gas, but they'll never take away our freedom — to hoon! [ Wall Street Journal]
Demonstrations are rare in stoical Iceland, a country of only 300,000 people. But the threat to jeep habits is just too much. Alfred "Spotti" Bergisson, a 26-year-old plumber who drives a beefed-up Toyota Land Cruiser, is willing to fight for his right to party. "I just want to go where I want to go," he says. "I get energy in the mountains. I think there."