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Old 01-23-2012, 01:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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A Little Math Lesson: Are Used Cars Greener Than Hybrids?

Interesting article. They don't mention cost. We should all know a used car is always cheaper (so buy a used hybrid ).
My favorite bit of info is right here:

Quote:
According to M.A. Weiss et al., in their 2000 report from the MIT Energy Laboratory, On the Road in 2020: A Lifecycle Analysis of New Automotive Technologies, fully 75 percent of a vehicle’s lifetime carbon emissions come from the fuel it burns over its lifetime, with another 19 percent coming from the production of that fuel.

Beyond that, the energy used to extract raw materials for the vehicle adds 4 percent more. A relatively tiny 2 percent of the vehicle's lifetime carbon footprint is due to manufacturing and assembly.
A Little Math Lesson: Are Used Cars Greener Than Hybrids?

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Old 01-23-2012, 11:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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And my favorite bit of misinfo:
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...somewhere around 10 to 12 years and 100,000 to 150,000 miles, most cars start failing in increasingly expensive ways.
If they're built by Honda or Toyota, you can probably double those numbers. I have a 2000 Honda Insight and a 1988 Toyota pickup, and yes, I will admit both have mechanical "failures" at the moment. The Honda has a burned-out headlight bulb (and the driver's floor mat is worn); the Toyota needs a new speedometer gear. But I can't see these failures adding significantly to either their operating cost or carbon footprint.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Pfft- Hondas and Toyotas are good but they haven't proven to be any better than anything else in my experience. Most vehicles are good these days; it comes down to how were they treated in the PO's care and/or the luck of the draw.
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Looks like I had a fair share of bad luck with the draw then.


Older vehicles also have far higher emissions than the newest breed.
Given the relatively low energy cost in making a new car, there certainly is a point where it becomes more environmentally friendly to recycle the old clunker and replace it with a new(er) car.
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by euromodder View Post
Older vehicles also have far higher emissions than the newest breed.
Given the relatively low energy cost in making a new car, there certainly is a point where it becomes more environmentally friendly to recycle the old clunker and replace it with a new(er) car.
Not necessarily true. CO2 emissions (the only thing that really matters any more, since everything else was reduced to negligible levels years ago) are directly proportional to mpg, and in a good many cases - Honda CRX & Civic from the '80s, Metros, etc) the older cars will still get better mpg than anything new other than a Prius or Volt.

Then there's the simple issue of driveability. Most new cars I've seen just aren't driveable, with everything from automatic transmissions to those stupid push-button start things that don't shut the engine off when you want to absurd levels of cell phone connectivity.
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
Not necessarily true. CO2 emissions (the only thing that really matters any more, since everything else was reduced to negligible levels years ago) are directly proportional to mpg, and in a good many cases - Honda CRX & Civic from the '80s, Metros, etc) the older cars will still get better mpg than anything new other than a Prius or Volt.
That everything else was reduced to negligible levels years ago is simply not true.
You mention some 1980s cars getting better mpg - mine definitely didn't - sure, but their other pollutants per mile are 6 times worse than a modern car.
That's if we look at the brochure numbers - IRL, wear and tampering will have pushed pollutants well beyond the brochure numbers.

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Then there's the simple issue of driveability. Most new cars I've seen just aren't driveable
There's no issue whatsoever with driveability in new cars.
Cars have never driven better - or safer - than today.

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with everything from automatic transmissions
They're better than ever - with some automated transmissions beating their manual counterparts in the official fuel consumption tests.

This won't apply to the typical US slushbox though.
The rental Chrysler 300 I once had was a downright nightmare.

Have you ever driven a DSG or similar gearbox ?
Most people simply can't shift gears as well or as consistently as a DSG.
Nor do they shift up as early.

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to those stupid push-button start things that don't shut the engine off when you want to absurd levels of cell phone connectivity.
There's the point : to the level YOU want.

Car manufacturers put in a logic that will be different from what you'd do, as they want an unobtrusive stop/start system that most of their customers will want to use, rather than switch off.

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