Friday, 13 November 2009

New car versus old car.

Reading through a website for a range of sustainable luggage recently (Yes there is such a thing) I came across a question about the pros and cons of buying a new car. I answered their question thus:

"My vote would be on second-hand every time for four reasons:

1: Recycling. Buying a new car, even a so-called eco-friendly car, means paying for the mining of heavy metals, the use of thousands of gallons of water and tons of Co2 for it's production. Meantime the car you would have saved from the scrapheap goes to recycling where tons of Co2 and thousands of gallons of water are spent feeding its raw materials back in to the same eco-expensive system. Re-use will always be more effective than re-cycling.

2: Fuel Economy. I drive a 1993 Vauxhall Cavalier. It does 37 miles to the gallon. It does this because it doesn't have the side impact bars, extra airbags, sound insulation, Air conditioning and gadgets crammed in to newer cars. It doesn't weigh as much. As the meercat says; Simples.

3: Local economy: I don't pay £200 a month on leasing to a faceless international corporation's usury arm. I bought my car off a local dealer for £500 two years ago. Since then I've spent about £500 pound a year on repairs and MOT work. I don't have to go to a dealership to have the work done, there's a father and son garage at the bottom of my street. They'll do the work I can't do and tell me how to do the easy stuff myself. When I need a part I don't have one shipped from Indonesia. I go to the local scrapyard and pay a man who uses the money in my community. My car has 160k on the clock and starts first time, every time. When the engine goes I have a donor engine on a pallet at my local garage which cost me £80 and has 80k on the clock. It'll cost £100 to put it in. Then I'll have another 80k of cheap motoring.

4: Ownership: Finally, when I get in my car I know it belongs to me. I don't think "If I don't make enough money this month they could take this off me." It might not be much but it's mine, and if I look after it it'll still be mine for a good long while too.

I am biased. I don't like new cars. Sure I'd have a sporty executive type thing, a Bentley or an Aston if I had £100k to spend but I haven't. So why make myself poorer and more anonymous in the meantime with a tin box the same as everyone else? I'll keep my Cav thanks.

PS: Really. Don't buy a new car."

Thought for the day: For those interested in sustainable luggage you could do a lot worse then go here: Millican. If nothing else it'll make you think about how un-sustainable the rest of your posessions are.

1 comment:

  1. It helps a lot if you understand how cars work, though - not everyone does. That little Ka cost me as much in repairs in the first year I owned it as it did to buy in the first place. I've just had to scrap it because it was uneconomic to repair. Now faced with the headache-inducing prospect of buying another one with no idea what makes a car good or bad.

    But I could have got a new one via the scrappage scheme, and decided not to in favour of a secondhand one, so basically I agree with you.