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Old 11-25-2020, 07:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Buying used, instead of new for environmental reasons -Pros and Cons ?

At what point does it make it worthwhile to buy new ?
There always has to be that first person to begin the recycling ( pass down ) cycle.

I have had my car for over 20 years, and it still runs great.
I remember one of you mentioned long ago about how that driving an old car less than "x " amount of miles a year would do far less environmental damage than buying a new vehicle.

Every time I think of replacing my car with something fancier, I think of that.
( As well as thinking " Is this a NEED, or a WANT " )

And I'm actually thinking of buying a cheap,USED "new" car too.
So what do you all think about that ?

Also, what is your advice on buying new, versus used on other things, such as electronics ?

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Old 11-25-2020, 07:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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In general, there are very few things I want to buy new. Some things I can't find what I want used, but I always check first. I try to buy gently used things at a discount from new rather than rock-bottom for your dollar, but well used things. I think electronics can be hard to judge and need to be considered situationally. Would I buy a used computer? Probably not unless I knew where it was coming from. Would I buy a used radio? Yes, I can bring a car battery and just use some leads to see if it powers on and possibly fix it if the problem is obvious (burnt resistor, bad solder joint, etc.).

My viewpoint for a car is much different. I prefer older things (notice the years of my stuff in the signature not counting the bike) and I work on my cars as a hobby so my preference is very high up there when choosing one. Up keep is relatively cheap for them and I'm not having to buy any new tech to service it which sometimes comes with a premium price tag.

I however, try not to work on other people's cars. With the exception of my Mom's car I don't usually touch anyone else's car unless I'm helping you do it. I started to a few years ago and quickly became burdened by it. When it was time for my Mom to get a new car (she doesn't like "older" cars, even if they were new-ish when she got it) I suggested getting something used, but in the best condition she could afford. Settled on a 2008 Hyundai Veracruz AWD. So far it's been ok. New enough, but old enough to not rely on anything too away from the tools I currently have.

The economic impact of a slightly used car is hard to judge I would think. It's not like you not buying it would mean it wasn't ever manufactured.
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Old 11-26-2020, 12:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I look on older vehicles as having "paid off" their environmental manufacturing impact, unlike - obviously - a new car that hasn't yet. However many years that might be.

How can it be paid off? Well, maybe it never really can...but I look at it as a certain amount every year that it's lived as a year one more new car hasn't been produced. The longer it goes, the lower the overall environmental impact.

Obviously, if it's burning oil or running terrible and putting out unnecessary levels of exhaust/emissions from running rich or whatever, it's not doing anyone any favors.

They often point out how a new car puts out less emissions than an older car...and, of course, in some ways, no matter what you do, it will be relatively higher, but I'm of an opinion that a lot of that comes down to maintenance and how people won't (pay to) fix a $500 car. So they keep on driving it while it's blowing oil, coolant, or excessive fuel out the tail pipe. It has the potential to be much cleaner, not it's fault it's not been given that chance.

Most of our vehicles are "older". Other than my new new car, the next newest is my wife's '06. It's got less miles on it than most cars approaching 10 years, so I'd say it's easier on the environment than most of those 5 years newer cars.

None of my cars burn or leak oil or coolant, and none of them run rich either....

Anyway, if it takes 10 years for a new car to "pay off" it's environmental tab, well, other than one of them, they're all "paid off" and I'll keep them healthy so they never go in the "red" again.
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Old 11-26-2020, 12:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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My parents purchased new vehicles and kept them 3 to 5 years. I drove a new pickup that my father purchased in 1972. That was my last new vehicle. My newest vehicle since then has been a 2006 Lincoln Navigator purchased after one year of use at a used car auction for half of sticker with 30,000 miles in 2008. We still have this car and it has 208,000 miles on it now. The car would be worth the same $ with that many miles so I saved $30+ thousand dollars.
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Old 11-26-2020, 05:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I think taking good care of it and contributing to it lasting long is the key, which part of a cars lifetime you own it for isn't that important.
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Old 11-26-2020, 10:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Buying new will always send a signal to manufacturing to produce more (very slight since it's only 1 more unit), so buying new is never the best environmental (or financial) choice.

Environmentally, probably a used EV if it fulfills your requirements. If not, a plug-in hybrid.

I always buy used phones for my wife. She's rough on them, so about the time she breaks the charging port its 4 years old. I'll jump on Ebay and grab a 1 generation old Pixel XL for $150 rather than the $900 it was new.

Other electronics are too affordable to not get new. Bought a new 75" 4k TV last Black Friday for $400. Nobody is going to sell a used one for that little. Same with laptops.
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Old 11-26-2020, 02:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice, all of you !

I drive a car that is about to be 28 years old.
It runs great, and I use it to advertise my art hobby "business " with.
It's in really rough shape ( I take credit ) but runs fine.

It seems that financially, i could replace every. single. part on this car with brand new ones, and still end up spending less than a slightly used car.( Entire engine and transmission even )

I have driving anxiety / agoraphobia and put maybe 300 miles per year on the car.
I walk to work and to get food directly across the street.
So the only thing cleaner than that is a bicycle.

Stangely enough, making the car look ridiculous seems to help my driving anxiety, since people react differenty when they see something comical.
I absorb even the slightest bit of anger and frustration from others like a sponge ( from childhood )

There is still that geeky part of me though that has wanted an electric car since before they even existed ( mainstream EVs that is )

I may be moving within the next two or three years, and this would mean that I would be driving to work.
I just might look at a plug in Prius or Leaf if i can get close enough to work.

But I'll check back if that ever happens.
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Old 11-26-2020, 04:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You're closing the thread and I just found it?
Quote:
Also, what is your advice on buying new, versus used on other things, such as electronics ?
My last paying gig was staffing the sales counter at Nextstep Recycling's sales outlet so I'm big on recycled electronics. IIRC the last computer I bought new was a Bondi Blue iMac.

There's a case for new, I like the Raspberry Pi 400 ($100) system-in-keyboard — it's like a modern VIC-20 or Apple ][ with GPIO
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Buy a Raspberry Pi 400 Personal Computer Kit - Raspberry Pi
https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-400/
Raspberry Pi 400 is your complete personal computer, built into a compact keyboard. Featuring a quad-core 64-bit processor, 4GB of RAM, wireless networking, dual-display output, and 4K video playback, as well as a 40-pin GPIO header, it's the most powerful and easy-to-use Raspberry Pi computer yet.
—and the ($700) Mac Mini with a machine learning chip
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Apple unleashes M1 - Apple
https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2020/...-unleashes-m1/
The M1 chip brings the Apple Neural Engine to the Mac, greatly accelerating machine learning (ML) tasks. Featuring Apple's most advanced 16-core architecture capable of 11 trillion operations per second, the Neural Engine in M1 enables up to 15x faster machine learning performance.
Other things I insist on buying new
  • socks
  • I used to buy recycled toilet paper but now I prefer bamboo.

On cars, the first car I bought was eleven years old. More recently, I've moved up from 1971-79 to the 1990 model year.
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Old 11-26-2020, 04:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubby79 View Post
Obviously, if it's burning oil or running terrible and putting out unnecessary levels of exhaust/emissions from running rich or whatever, it's not doing anyone any favors.

They often point out how a new car puts out less emissions than an older car...and, of course, in some ways, no matter what you do, it will be relatively higher, but I'm of an opinion that a lot of that comes down to maintenance and how people won't (pay to) fix a $500 car. So they keep on driving it while it's blowing oil, coolant, or excessive fuel out the tail pipe. It has the potential to be much cleaner, not it's fault it's not been given that chance.
Let's consider newer engines with sequential fuel injection get an effective decrease on unburnt hydrocarbon emissions compared to carburettors and earlier EFI setups with a continuous fuel flow. Sequential fuel injection is also easier on the catalysts. On the other hand, looking at both the viability of retrofitting SFI to an older engine once it requires an overhaul and the lower footprint of keeping its bodyshell instead of looking for a brand-new car which is supposedly "cleaner" on the long run, sometimes it's better to keep a beater and eventually performing some upgrades instead of going into the new car market for a debt that would be greater than the environmental claims. And even some engines with an ancient design may still be suitable to upgrades which will keep them up to the current emission regulations at a lower expense, considering port-injection won't require particle filters which are becoming more common even on gasoline engines due to the widespread of direct injection.
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Old 11-26-2020, 07:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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My last two cars were new. One was a Japanese turbo with an active tuning and modding scene, and the other was such a low price point that there was no room for a good deal on used- and they were both manuals. Those are always nice to have without an unknown history. My wife's new minivan is new, too. If you want the factory tow package, just order it that way and wait (it beats buying a pickup).

I'm usually very happy with used electronics, we don't need bleeding edge specs. Hell, I've had this laptop over 5 years, and that was after my wife's company threw it out.

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