Here is a bit of history on emissions reduction: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/invntory/overview/solutions/milestones.htm
Nobody made the claim that every new car is more efficient than every old car. Exceptions are definitely out there, but in general newer cars are in fact more efficient and less pollutive than their older predecessors. Your comparisons aren't really comparing apples to apples. For example, the '85 Plymouth Reliant used a 2.2 liter engines, while the Fusion uses a 3.0 liter engine. That's not a direct comparison.
The '85 Cavalier used a tiny 1.8 liter engine. As such it's more akin to something like Chevy Cruze.
Thus in comparison it would be more like this:
1985 Chevy Cavalier: 7,453 lbs CO2
2011 Chevy Cruse: 5,397 lbs CO2.
So in other words, that's a fairly substantial difference. The same is true when comparing the Plymouth Reliant to its modern day equivalent in regards to engine displacement, a 2007 Ford Focus.
1985 Plymouth Reliant: 7,453 lbs CO2
2007 Ford Focus: 5,797 lbs CO2.
Again- a large delta in comparison. What if we compare trucks?
1985 Ford F-150: 11,179 lbs CO2
2010 Ford F-150: 9,207 lbs CO2.
So in each and every one of these direct comparisons the modern vehicle is approximately 20% cleaner than their older cousins.
OK, easy terms, from what I know.
89 F150 4x4, 302 199k before the head gaskets went out, 4 speed non OD.
86 Civic, 302 aod, 189k.
1991 Camaro RS 5.0, 257k and still runs good, the fact that the only things replaced on it in the last 130k being tires, oil, and 3 fuel control modules.
92 Ford Taurus, heads went at 240k, junked at 277k from massive amounts of rust.
91 Grand Am, 217k head gaskets, junked.
Here's a few articles that I found in a five minute search. The least of these articles claim we have cut emissions by about 99% since they started controlling them in the mid 70's. One article claims a car from the 60's (Malibu) put out 400 times the amount of pollutants as a 2010 Malibu.
It is simple to find any facts you need on the Internet. The truth is though even if cars that were built in the 80's were close to as pollutant free as a new car is now, 99% of them would not be so today. How many of them have been completely torn down and rebuilt with all brand new parts to insure they are running at their peak performance level? Well, unless they are rotisserie restored classic cars that are trailered to shows, not many! Most people driving old cars as daily commuter cars are still on pretty much the original drivetrain, with maybe minor updates made to them. You still have old valve seals and gaskets that leak.
Every time I am around an old car, I can smell it right away. There is a certain amount of burning oil or other crap coming out of the exhaust that you just plain don't get from a new car. Now say that car as new was half as pollutant as a new car... well 25 years later, that has grown to at least ten times the pollutants that it is spewing.
Next time you are following an older car, take a whiff. That is all the proof I need about how much less efficient that car is. I didn't need the above stories to tell me anything that I already knew.
But even IF your interpretation of classes of vehicles is accepted, it must be acknowledged that 20% is not "10 times" the pollutants, as was being claimed. The FACT remains that not all new cars are more efficient than all old cars, as was also claimed by someone. While there may be a certain validity to comparing "classes" of cars, as you're attempting, the differences between the 1980's and 2010 is not as great as some people seem to think. I would maintain that comparing a Plymouth Reliant or Pontiac 6000 to a Fusion or Camry is pretty valid. They are both the family sedans of their respective day.
All the hype about new cars being cleaner, greener and more fuel efficient is total marketing BS.
As shown in the figures above, newer cars have made very minor improvement in emissions, not even worth noticing.
Juts a great ploy to justify consumerism as an environmentally sustainable action.
I prefer to drive my older cars which get the same fuel mileage, as well they are better quality, safer, and more comfortable.
Reuse, reduce and recycle... where does buying a new car fit in that picture?
"1st Feb 2011, 14:25
It is simple to find any facts you need on the Internet."
Ha ha, yes, you certainly proved that!
"Now say that car as new was half as pollutant as a new car... well 25 years later, that has grown to at least ten times the pollutants that it is spewing."
And your factual reference for that statement is...
"Next time you are following an older car, take a whiff. That is all the proof I need about how much less efficient that car is. I didn't need the above stories to tell me anything that I already knew."
Good for you! Don't let some pesky facts interfere with your preconceived notions!
What about newer cars that leave a trail of blue smoke behind? I see plenty of them, especially Toyota's, Mitsubishi's and Nissan's, leaving trails of blue smoke behind as the owner is too cheap to fix the problem and keeps polluting.
I highly doubt the newer cars are better than the older ones.
"But even IF your interpretation of classes of vehicles is accepted, it must be acknowledged that 20% is not "10 times" the pollutants, as was being claimed."
Not sure who said that older cars pollute 10 times more so than new cars, but 20% is extremely significant. That represents millions upon millions of metric tons of pollutants that aren't going into the air. If we're talking about cars before 1975, then there's absolutely no argument to be made because those cars did not have catalytic converters. Those catalytic converters can convert over 90% of the oxides coming out of your exhaust into less harmful gases. On top of that, there have been advancement in converters. In 1981, two-way converters were swapped for three-way converters. There have been further improvements since then - particularly in 1996 when cars went from using the OBD1 system to the OBD11 system. The advancement in emission, ignition, and overall improved engine design has ultimately led to better fuel economy (the new Fiesta and Chevy Cruze both get over 40MPG) and cleaner overall emissions.
On top of that, electric cars are now becoming a realistic product. GM, Ford, Nissan, and Toyota all have electric vehicles either in production or in the pipeline. These vehicles will basically be producing zero emissions. Sure - there seems to be a tired old argument about how that they are bad for the environment because of the batteries and coal powered electric plants. But in reality, those batteries are recyclable, and the coal plants in most cases have numerous scrubbers. I grew up near a huge coal plant, and the only time we saw anything come out of the stack was in the winter when it was mostly condensation. The thing is that what do you think is cleaner? Millions of questionably maintained cars of varied ages or a few centrally located, heavily regulated modern coal plants? On my daily commute, I can't tell you how many cars I get behind that are either burning oil or running very poorly.
"All the hype about new cars being cleaner, greener and more fuel efficient is total marketing BS.
I prefer to drive my older cars which get the same fuel mileage, as well they are better quality, safer, and more comfortable."
It isn't hype, and personally I'm glad that changes have been made. Otherwise we would still be driving cars running on leaded gasoline and be on freeways choked with toxic fumes. Was it really better back in the good old days? I've also owned numerous old and new cars. I fail to see how anything made 20-30 years ago is better than whats typically driven today. That, and given that most cars - particularly American cars - had that awful, marshmallow floaty ride, I also don't see how they're necessarily more comfortable, unless you're 70 and that's the only ride you've ever known.
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