I used to believe "newer is better" like many others.
That is until I started driving full size, V-8, rear wheel drive cars and trucks from the late 1970's and early 80's.
These tanks are indestructible! My newer used cars would break down and require costly repairs, but my old beater's from the 80's could not be killed, I have to sell them to get rid of them, because they will not die!
I am sticking to old V-8 Chevys for life now. The small price of extra gasoline is offset by amazing reliability and very low maintenance; saves a lot of money in the end.
This whole old vs. new argument is pretty lame. Old cars pollute the air 10 times more than anything new. Get over the whole "it pollutes the air to produce a new car" thing. It pollutes the air to produce any new product. So are you watching a TV from 1970 or using that brick of a cell phone from 1985? Yeah, I didn't think so. This is an even lamer angle when arguing for driving old inefficient cars! Buy a Subaru if you are concerned with pollution. 0% of landfill use by that company when building their products. Also, driving a hybrid, or better yet a full electric, will surely offset any pollution created while making your car.
New cars are so much cleaner and more efficient if you buy the right ones. Also, the illusion that old cars are safe is just that... an illusion. They are designed so poorly compared to today's cars. They have evolved the auto design for a very good reason. Not sure why people don't get that simple fact.
Lots of strong opinions, but no actual facts in this comment.
* Please cite your source that old cars pollute 10 times more than anything new? Which cars or class of cars? How is this calculated? Which pollutants? Which year cars? Does a 1983 throttle body fuel injected 2-liter 4-cylinder really pollute 10 times more than any 2010 vehicle? I think you have made an unsupportable blanket statement with no facts to substantiate it.
* "It pollutes the air to produce any new product." This is true, so what is your justification for advocating buying a new car? Since making all new products pollutes the air, you suggest that people should just buy everything new and not worry about it? I'm afraid that your position is self-contradictory, and just doesn't make sense.
* "driving a hybrid, or better yet a full electric, will surely offset any pollution created while making your car." This is your opinion, and stating it forcefully does not make it fact. "Surely" means you assume it to be the case, but you don't know. So, burning coal in a power plant in order to charge up your electric car is going to offset the pollution associated with manufacturing the car. That does not make sense.
"* Please cite your source that old cars pollute 10 times more than anything new? Which cars or class of cars? How is this calculated? Which pollutants? Which year cars? Does a 1983 throttle body fuel injected 2-liter 4-cylinder really pollute 10 times more than any 2010 vehicle? I think you have made an unsupportable blanket statement with no facts to substantiate it."
Sorry but old cars do pollute more than new cars for none other than the fact that EPA requirements have changed a lot since the 80s. Over time, components of vehicles have had to be changed to meet these requirements. Most cars from the 60s and 70s didn't even have emission controls and in the 80s these emission systems were far less efficient than what exists today.
I agree with one of the other commentators. The old versus new argument is pointless. If driving 30 year old vehicles works for you, then great. Keep driving them. But today's cars are certainly not the flimsy unreliable junk being claimed. Sure, some cars made today are absolute garbage. But they made garbage in the 70s too.
None of our vehicles have given us issues. The oldest one is 15 years old. The newest is 4 years old. They've been reliable, efficient, and comfortable vehicles.
"31st Jan 2011, 12:22
Sorry but old cars do pollute more than new cars for none other than the fact that EPA requirements have changed a lot since the 80s."
As expected, more qualitative statements, without any quantitative data. Don't be sorry. Just provide some factual basis for your claims. How does the EPA requirement affect how much pollutants a car emits? Regardless of the EPA standard, you should be able to show that a certain model of 2010 car produced X tons of CO2, while a certain model of 1980s car produced 10X tons of CO2. But you won't do that, so all you have is "I feel/believe that new cars are better." Feelings and beliefs are not facts, regardless of how many times you repeat them. You "new cars are 10 times better than old cars" guys are unable to substantiate your claims with any factual data, which is an admission of the failure of your argument. Perhaps it's time to move on.
It turns out that the internet has a number of automobile carbon footprint calculators, so it is easy to come up with some comparative data to settle this argument as to whether old cars are so much more inefficient and polluting than new cars. As I understand it, the two main claims that I saw being stated are 1) old cars are less efficient and pollute more than anything new, and 2) old cars pollute 10 times more than new cars. So, let's test these claims.
My assumptions are driving 8,000 miles per year, and I used the carbon footprint calculator at www.terrapass.com, to get pounds of CO2 produced and gallons of gas used in a year. I think some of the gas mileage estimates are too low in their assumptions, but I used them for purposes of comparison. For instance, I regularly got 15 MPG in a 1985 Ram, whereas they say 12 MPG, and I had a 2002 Explorer that got 19-24 as opposed to their assumed 14/19, and I have gotten 28 MPG highway in both a Cadillac DTS and STS, as opposed to their assumed 22 MPG.
Year Model MPG lbs. CO2 gal. gas
1985 Dodge Ram 11/12 13,043 667
1985 Chevy Cavalier 20/27 6,805 421
1985 Plymouth Reliant 22/30 6,020 308
1989 Pontiac 6000 20/28 6,805 348
2002 Ford Explorer 14/19 9,782 500
2007 Cadillac DTS 15/22 8,695 500
2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser 17/21 8,237 421
2010 Chrysler300 AWD 16/23 8,237 421
2010 Ford Fusion 20/28 6,521 333
2010 Toyota Camry 20/30 6,260 320.
So, it looks like the claim that every new car being more efficient than every old car does not hold up. In fact, the 1985 Plymouth Reliant gets better gas mileage and produces less CO2 than a 2010 Ford Fusion or Toyota Camry. The 1985 Cavalier and 1989 Pontiac 6000 use only slightly more gas and produce only slightly more CO2 than the 2010 Fusion or Camry. Nor does it appear that the claim that cars from the 1980s produce 10 times the emissions of anything new hold up, either. Even the 1985 Dodge Ram 4x4 produces only about double the emissions of the Fusion.