Yes, electric cars are better for the environment than their gas-guzzling counterparts—at least if we’re talking on-the-road emissions. Take into account the production process, though, and they’re not exactly squeaky-clean either.
A recent report by classic car insurance provider Footman James recently found that if you take into account the production process, EVs may actually have a bigger impact on the environment than older vehicles.
Now before we proceed, we have to highlight that this is a classic car insurance provider we’re talking about here. It’s in the company’s interest for older vehicles to stick around, so take everything that follows with that in mind.
Back to the report. The company points out that a Polestar 2 EV creates 26 tons of CO2 during the production process. Based on the UK driving data obtained for the study, a classic car emits around 563kg of CO2 per year. This means it would take an old-school vehicle around 46 years to produce the same about of emissions it would take to produce the Swedish EV.
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“We could abandon our enthusiasm for keeping our automotive heritage alive and on the road, and opt for something more modern, more efficient,” Footman James said in its report.
“A brand-new hatchback will almost certainly use less fuel and produce fewer emissions from its tailpipe, but once you consider the environmental cost of building a new car instead of using an existing one, the picture becomes more complex.”
The company also took the opportunity to point out that new technologies are making classic car ownership a more sustainable hobby, too. Machines like 3D printers can produce parts that improve an older units efficiency, and the continued development of fuel products reduces their emissions as well.
“Environmental pressures are not new: the arguments for replacing a classic car with a modern equivalent have been around for years. However, the reality is that keeping a classic on the road is already an exercise in sustainability,” the report reads.
“From the new breed of vehicle dismantlers who carefully rescue and recondition parts that would otherwise end up in landfill, to the committed and enthusiastic cottage industry offering an eBay-shaped window into a world populated by new-old stock.”
So, is keeping an old car running and lessening its impact on the environment more sustainable than buying a brand-new EV? At the very least it’s a question worth asking. What do you think?
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