Classic cars versus modern cars, are they more green?

Keywords: Energy, Latest, Lifestyle

In the push towards a greener future, many countries are phasing out the sale of new Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars in favor of electric vehicles. While this shift is crucial for reducing emissions, it raises questions for classic car enthusiasts who cherish the sounds and smells of vintage engines. Can these beloved classics ever be considered green?

To answer this, we must look at the environmental impact of manufacturing new cars. The process involves significant pollution, from smelting metals to extracting materials like lithium, zinc and cobalt from open cast mines for electrical components. This process can create toxic run off, not to mention the required transportation. Additionally, the prevalence of plastic in modern cars adds to environmental challenges.

Furthermore, our disposal of cars at the end of their life contributes to environmental concerns. Today, cars are often seen as disposable, with manufacturers encouraging frequent upgrades and short-term finance options. It is now much more common for individuals to change their car every 2-4 years.  Whereas, most modern cars are now so well engineered, they would easily last 200k-250k miles or c15 years of everyday driving.  

However, classic cars, typically older than thirty years, have already “sunk” their initial carbon emissions and are often driven less frequently than modern cars. While classic cars may emit more pollutants per mile, their longevity and reduced usage suggest they may be less harmful overall compared to disposable modern cars. Classic car enthusiasts value every part and drive, viewing their vehicles as collectibles with historical significance.

Ultimately, the focus should be on making long-term purchases and embracing the recycle, reuse, and repair mindset. By appreciating the value of classic cars and their sustainable qualities, we can contribute to a more environmentally conscious automotive culture.