Keep Your Old Car [Part 4] The Planet Will Love You

Posted on April 24, 2011


Cont from Part 3… A rant about why buying a new car should be avoided as a matter of principal, my last point:

5 – It’s Great for the Environment

Energy Intensive Industry

A lot of energy goes into making a car – both during the assembly process and into obtaining raw materials from the earth.  Recently some clever people at the Faculty of Economics, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan competed a detailed analysis on the “whole of life” carbon costs associated with extending (or shortening) the lifespan of cars.  The primary idea was to ask “Is it better for the environment for me to upgrade to a more fuel efficient vehicle?”   The answer – a resounding NO!

As far as I could read, if your car was built after 1990, or is older but has reasonable efficiency, you don’t want to shorten the life span to buy something new with better economy, their study found…

“to reduce the lifetime of a vehicle by 3 years requires achieving an increase in fuel efficiency of approximately 17 km per liter gasoline (i.e., 40 miles per gallon) for the new car replacement”

This is a remarkable claim and one that leads me to conclude that if my owner can get three more years out of his 1996 Honda (which already achieves a respectable 34 MPG highway), it would be much better for the environment than if  he bought a Prius – plus he will save himself a ton of money.

The longer we can keep our old cars the better- it is as simple as that.

Read In Depth Study on Why Keeping Your Old Car is Better for the Environment

A quote:  “an extension in motor vehicle lifetime has the effect of reducing the number of new motor vehicles sold, thereby reducing the number of motor vehicles produced and the amount of CO2 emissions attributable to motor vehicle manufacturing. However, this extension in car lifetime results in an increase in the number of old and less fuel-efficient vehicles still in service, increasing the CO2 emissions from the vehicle fleet still on the road. A critical consideration here is that total induced CO2 emissions, i.e. the combined emissions from motor vehicle production, gasoline refining, gasoline combustion, and other services (see “Total” in Figure 1), decrease in response to an extension in motor vehicle lifetime. This finding implies that the product lifetime extension scenario would clearly contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions” QED, Kyushu University Well Done – lets now get the message out!

Kyushu University - love your work!

KEEP YOUR OLD CAR – 3 More Years! You can do it!


Posted in: Green, Simple Living