With 6.3 million cars sold in the US each year, second-hand car sales have experienced a rise of 44%. Many buyers are looking at pre-owned cars not just for the lower price tag, but because they see it as the much more environmentally friendly option compared to buying brand new. But are they right?
Green credentials of new cars
Buying can be a complex business, especially when weighing up vehicle value and affordability with concerns about the potential environmental impact. Car manufacturers are of course aware of this and increasingly focusing their marketing on the green credentials of their latest model, talking about the latest eco-friendly technology that offers a greener ride. But a greener car only tells half of the story, with the environmental cost of production often canceling out any kind of benefit that might be gained from the car’s own green statistics.
Third of cars’ emissions produced during manufacturing
Toyota conducted a study back in 2004 which showed that almost a third of the emissions produced by a car during its life actually occurred during the manufacturing process, rather than when the car was being driven on the road. This means that any kind of new production adds to the emissions entering our atmosphere, suggesting that it could be a much better option to keep an older car running for as long as possible.
Are “green” vehicles any different?
This is also true of vehicles that have been designed specifically to be “green”, including electric vehicles. Although there is no doubt that this kind of vehicle will continue to grow in popularity in the future thanks to their zero emissions, there are still production processes to think about. This includes the manufacturing of the electrical systems which can have a huge impact on the surrounding environment.
Lower emissions with electric cars
That’s not to say though that electric vehicles are not a great choice of course. After all, when you compare the overall emissions to that of the average, fuel-based vehicle, they are considerably lower. The only consideration that needs to be made is whether you choose to buy new or second hand. If the environment is a top concern for you, then buying second hand could be the best choice.
Thanks to the fact that second-hand car sales are such a huge business, you can be sure that second-hand doesn’t mean second best. In fact, there is a lot to be said for a “tried and tested” model rather than a brand-new vehicle.