Making sense of responsible motoring
The answer to this is yes.... and also no. I should explain!

When considering a given car, not only is the CO2 produced during driving important, but it is also important to consider how much CO2 is released during the manufacture of the car itself.
Are brand new cars kinder to the environment?
The CO2 produced during the manufacture of a brand new car, is typically more than would be produced during 15-20 years of that released by tailpipe emmissions from driving an equivelent old car. Therefore, where possible it is always going to be better for the environment to keep an old car going, as CO2 has already been used to produce that old car. In effect by keeping an old car on the road, you are saving the equivelent of 15-20 years of CO2!

For example, including its production CO2, a Tesla Model S will result in around 20,000kg of CO2 in a typical 20 years of use. However a used Diesel Jaguar X-type could also be ran for 20 years and only produce the same 20,000kg of CO2. Because there are already plenty of Jaguar X-types around, purchasing them and allowing them to complete their lifecycle is therefore just as kind to the environment as buying yourself a new Tesla Model S.

Of course it's not quite as simple as that, as a lot of new cars produce less CO2 when they are running than old cars. So an efficient new car will effectively make up for the CO2 released during its manufacture, if you keep it for a long period.
So if you are really serious about reducing your carbon footprint and keeping your CO2 level output at a minimum, what you actually want is a car that outputs as little CO2 as possible, but you ideally want to avoid having something brand new, as you might then have to wait 20 years to see the benefit. Something like this classic Fiat 500 was made before CO2 levels were recorded. However the car is light, and powered by a small engine, which is unlikely to have a high CO2 level. We could reasonably estimate a figure of around 150g/km.

If you purchased a brand new Nissan leaf instead, you would need to own it for 30 years (or 360,000 miles) before you had saved enough CO2 to make up for the CO2 released during its manufacture!
So if you really care about the environment in a big way; perhaps retro is the way to go? It's certainly more interesting! But in reality, its not always practical to drive a Fiat 500. So even though this might actually be one of the better solutions for saving the planet, I am not suggesting we all do it.

In addition, if we all strive to drive old Fiats, they will inevitably shoot up in value, and become unaffordable. No new cars will be purchased, and we'd end up in a situation, where there was nothing left to drive!

So it's all about looking at all the data available, and making a realistic, sensible solution, about what suits you, and what you want to do to help reduce CO2.
Unfortunately not all of the facts are being provided, when new technologies are being provided, so consumers are selecting technologies they think are helping the planet, when in fact they are actually doing the reverse. Very little has been explained about the additional CO2 produced for the manufacture of an electric car, and when you consider the CO2 being produced by the electrical power stations that create the electricity they use, many electrical cars are no better than some of their Diesel and Petrol counterparts.

But to be clear, I am certainly not saying that electric cars are bad - far from it. As electric cars are purchased they replace older, less fuel efficient Petrol and Diesel cars. This in turn slowly makes the world a cleaner place.
This is a process of improvement which has been continually making things better since manufacturers starting making their cars more fuel efficuent, and considering the CO2 output of their vehicles. It is a process which we hope keeps building momentum - In 20 years time we hope most of the electric cars being purchased today will still be on the roads, and by that time many will have saved the CO2 that was released in their manufacture.

What I am saying though, is scrapping all of the old cars on our roads, would be madness, and yet this is exactly what people have been encouraged to do over the last decade. Government scrappage schemes are completely rediculous, and as a result hundreds of perfectly good cars have been destroyed; effectively wasting CO2, because the life of these cars was ended premeturely. Worst still, large quantities of CO2 would then have been released into the atmosphere during the manufacture of the brand new replacements... and there would even be CO2 released during the disposal of the old cars.

Therefore the data on this site is designed to help you make an informed decision about the car you drive. You want to buy a brand new car? Thats fine. You might want to consider some of the latest technology like the Tesla Model X or the Nissan Leaf. The short term costs, and CO2 production might be high, but in the future your purchase will have helped the world to improve, and you will be able to enjoy the latest in technology, and performance. There are other benefits, such as increased reliability, cleaner air for people to breath in the areas that you drive, and in some cases, blistering performance.

But if you cannot afford a new car, do not worry. If everyone bought new cars, there would be a huge amount of unnecessary CO2 produced. It's all about doing your research, and making an informed decision.
15th August 2018 2018
Small classic cars can make very environmentally friendly vehicles
This classic Porsche is hardly an economical choice. But a great deal of CO2 went into the manufacure of this car, so why shouldn't someone enjoy it?