Is it more eco-friendly to keep your old car or buy new?

Here's a question that often comes up when discussing the green automotive scene: Is it more eco-friendly to keep your old car or to buy a new, more fuel efficient model? The answer is, as you may have guessed, very complicated. One way to attack the question is on carbon emissions, and this is the main tack that Scientific American has taken when analyzing the issue. According to SciAm, due to the emissions created when manufacturing vehicles, you should keep your current car as long as possible, so long as it is in decent running condition and getting reasonably good fuel mileage. Case closed?

Not so fast - while that's not necessarily the wrong answer, let's muddy up the waters a bit, shall we? Depending on the year of manufacture, a given car may not be equipped with many modern emissions controls that are standard on current models. Even if a car continues to pass its emissions testing, it is generally only required to meet the standards that were in place when it was new, and those requirements have gotten much more strict in the past few years.

Scrapping a car, as pointed out by SciAm, isn't a particularly green option, though retrofitting modern emissions equipment is tough. A conversion to electric sounds like a nice option, but then you must consider where the electricity is coming from. As you can see, this is anything but a cut-and-dry answer, and it depends largely on what green aspect you consider most important. To keep or to buy new, that is the question. Thanks for the tip, Micah!

[Source: Scientific American]

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