Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Old cars not new cars should be the priority.

Labour the other day released a press release about the new car add’s showing the CO2 emissions from cars such as adds with g/km of CO2 in them. Tommy Broughan says

The transport sector contributes very significantly to our total greenhouse gas emissions. This proposal for making much more information available to consumers on the environmental profile of new vehicles is very valuable and worthwhile of strong consideration. The first session of the new Oireachtas Transport Committee takes place this week and I intend to request that this matter is placed high on the Committee’s agenda for a comprehensive hearing and examination.

It is however slightly counter productive.

One of the biggest emissions from a car come not from its operation but from its manufacture. In 1994 the Environment and Forecasting Institute in Heidelberg, Germany conducted a survey on the energy and environmental impact of a car through out its life time. Having driven 13,000 km a year for 10 years. It will produce 2,040m cubic metres of polluted air driving and 922m in production. This mean that about 40% of the emissions coming from a car in its 10 year lifetime comes from the manufacture. Or to put it another way. If you buy a new car every 4 years the greatest factor in the emissions in the car comes from the manufacture not the fuel. Now cars probably have improved since 1994 but not by a significant amount to render the fact that it is more environmental to keep a car for 10 years then the trade it in and buy a new more energy efficient car because the energy efficiency is nullified by the manufacturing emissions.

If Labour really want to do something to push for better emissions. Push for less car purchases, increase tax on purchasing new cars and decrease it on old cars. By doing a measure that seems to big up cars with low emissions per km. It will may make people feel guilty about their old car and get rid of it thinking that they are doing their bit for the environment when the opposite may well be the case.

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