If you need a last-minute gift for an 18-year-old boy, you might be at a loss as to what to get him. Eighteen is still in that grey zone between the teen years and adulthood, and---particularly if you don't know the boy very well---you may be worried that you will insult him with a gift that leans too far one way or the other. In reality, the fact that he has a foot in both camps will work to your advantage; you have far more gift categories from which to choose, doubling your chances of finding a last-minute gift he will love.
Cash and Gift Cards
Even if the 18-year-old in question has a job, you can bet he doesn't have enough spending money and cash is always a welcome gift. If you feel uncomfortable giving cash, give him a generous gift card to a local store featuring music, books, games or clothing geared to his age group. Boys this age seldom have enough to eat, either, so gift tokens to coffee shops and fast-food places are also great last-minute ideas.
It may take a stealth phone call to the boy's parents to determine exactly which equipment he already has, but a techie gift is always appreciated by boys this age. You can find computer memory sticks in all sorts of entertaining colours and shapes, many costing only a few dollars. Pick up new ear buds for his MP3 player (or the MP3 player itself, if he doesn't already have one). Most boys like video games, so if you know what platforms he uses get him the latest best seller; ask the store clerk what's popular if you don't have a clue.
If he drives, get him something for his car. If you happen to know that his car is a leaky old beater, a case of the appropriate-weight oil will probably be appreciated more than any other gift you could buy. There is a huge assortment of car-related accessories available, too. These include everything from light-up skull shift knobs to fuzzy dice. You can also buy items like grip tape for his skateboard, lights for his bike or a sleek new scooter helmet--be sure to keep the receipt in case you grab the wrong size.