Old cars vs new cars - which is more friendly

Hi all,

I greatly appreciate reading your posts and responses and wonder what you think.  My other half said that old cars are more environmentally friendly, because they've lasted so long - eg, we've not had to contribute to the manufacture etc of new cars in our lifetime.

I actually still own my first car, a 1978 Mk2 Escort.

Let's take that as an example and compare how many cars I would "normally" have bought to replace it over the years (I've been driving about 20 years). 

I'm sorry if I've not articulated well, it's a concept that I find hard to describe but I hope you understand!  Thanks guys 🙂

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The first thing to consider is fuel economy. If a new car is 20% more efficient than the car it replaces, then the environment is better off with the new car. '20% more efficient' means the efficiency of the car at the point when it is replaced, not necessarily when it was bought new.

The second element of this is safety. One of the more bizarre events recently was Prince Philip's Land Rover being hit by another car with enough force to roll it over. Everyone in that collision walked away from it, including the 97 year old prince. It isn't likely that a late 1970's car is that survivable. The cost of health care from automobile injuries is enormous, so that 'waste' has to be taken into account.

The US desert southwest has 'boneyards' full of perfectly good aircraft. The reason they aren't in commercial service is that they are uneconomical to fly. Newer aircraft fly the same miles on less fuel. Airlines can't compete with old airliners.

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Thanks Meredith.  I'm also thinking of all the manufacturing emissions etc I've saved by not needing an entire new car several times over in the last 20 years.  An average new car is leased for about two years - that's 10 cars worth of mining, transport, and manufacturing.  Would it outweigh the efficiency of the engine?

Also, (to a point), I would posit that having an older car makes me a better driver - if I hit someone, that steering wheel is going straight through my chest.  No airbags, no side impact bars etc.  Therefore, I am more aware of what 's going on around me as I'm not reliant on being in a big padded environment.  (This is not a point I would actually agree with, but one that may engender some interesting replies!)

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