Classic Cars Are Greener Than Electric Vehicles: Study

  • You are viewing Orangepower as a Guest. To start new threads, reply to posts, or participate in polls or contests - you must register. Registration is free and easy. Click Here to register.

kaboy42

Territorial Marshal
May 2, 2007
8,725
8,032
1,743
#1
https://www.motorious.com/articles/features-3/classic-cars-greener/

Well, how about that…
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard people yammer on and on about how horrible classic cars are for the environment. Usually their eyes are bugging out, spittle’s flying out of their mouth, and they’re absolutely filled with self-righteousness but few facts. They’ll vehemently insist that driving your old Camaro, Mustang, Charger, or whatever you own is absolutely destroying the planet in real time while refusing to discuss the process of extracting minerals for making EV batteries, let alone the insane energy levels required in the manufacturing process. That’s why reading a new study from UK insurance provider Footman James is so refreshing because it doesn’t talk emotional rage, sticking instead to the inconvenient facts.

Even inside this industry there are those running around claiming all classic cars will be electrified in 10 or 15 years or whatever time frame they were told by someone else. The assumption is this will be good for the environment, that driving a classic car with batteries and an electric motor will cause trees to spring forth in the Sahara Desert and the unicorns to return from the ocean.

According to Footman James' study, reality is far different because classic cars with those evil, gas-burning engines are better for the environment than new electric vehicles. The thing is people who believe the opposite just look at tailpipe emissions, behaving as if that’s everything in the equation. They don’t consider pollution generated by the manufacturing process.

In the study, Footman James mentions that in the UK a classic car on average is driven 1,200 miles a year and puts out 563 kg of CO2 as a result. But a new VW Golf is made by generating 6.8 tonnes of CO2e. Even worse, a Polestar 2 (a Swedish electric car) generates 26 tonnes of CO2 during the manufacturing process. That means you could drive your classic car for over 46 years before it generates as much CO2 as the “green” electric vehicle. Let that sink in for a moment.

Footman James rightly points out that within that 46-year period, the Polestar 2’s battery will need to be replaced, maybe even swapped for a new one twice or more. And what happens to the battery? Can it really be recycled? The answer for now is no. Meanwhile, the classic car keeps running without contributing significantly to a landfill. But you should feel bad for driving such an awful pollution machine, or so we’re told.

I wish the study dug more into the human and environmental costs associated with the extraction of raw materials to build electric cars. There’s also the fact many of these minerals are mined in authoritarian countries like China and Russia where many accusations have been levied that slave labor is used in the process.

Keep all this in mind the next time your neighbor, relative, or friend who just bought a shiny new Tesla tries guilt tripping you about owning and driving a classic. Sure, the smug self-righteous attitude can be annoying, especially when people who know next to nothing about cars are just fascinated by anything novel, but the facts don’t exactly back up their daydreams of becoming Captain Planet.

Check out Footman James’ study for yourself here.
 

Binman4OSU

Legendary Cowboy
Aug 31, 2007
38,252
10,925
1,743
Stupid about AGW!!
#2
Wonder how they could make the manufacturing greener? Cause this study is including the entire manufacturing process of the vehicle to say it is less green overall.
Anyone want to be a billionaire.... now's the time to invent the Green Assembly Line for car manufacturers...this will be the person know ad Henry Ford 2.0
 

Birry

Federal Marshal
Feb 6, 2007
13,687
7,342
1,743
Landlocked
#3
Wonder how they could make the manufacturing greener? Cause this study is including the entire manufacturing process of the vehicle to say it is less green overall.
Anyone want to be a billionaire.... now's the time to invent the Green Assembly Line for car manufacturers...this will be the person know ad Henry Ford 2.0
Just making steel requires huge amounts of energy, water, etc....and most production vehicles use it for the frame and other components. Add in lithium mining, processing, and transportation for the batteries, then replacement of those batteries, plus the actual energy to charge them, and you're probably looking at more of a wash on total carbon footprint on the lifespan of a vehicle.

We need batteries not based on precious metals and/or vehicles not made of energy dense materials for electric vehicles to really change the game.

Personally, I would love to own an electric vehicle someday. But until we get better range, faster charging times, and lower prices, I won't be owning one.
 

steross

he/him
A/V Subscriber
Mar 31, 2004
33,228
33,349
1,743
oklahoma city
#4
https://www.motorious.com/articles/features-3/classic-cars-greener/

Well, how about that…
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard people yammer on and on about how horrible classic cars are for the environment. Usually their eyes are bugging out, spittle’s flying out of their mouth, and they’re absolutely filled with self-righteousness but few facts. They’ll vehemently insist that driving your old Camaro, Mustang, Charger, or whatever you own is absolutely destroying the planet in real time while refusing to discuss the process of extracting minerals for making EV batteries, let alone the insane energy levels required in the manufacturing process. That’s why reading a new study from UK insurance provider Footman James is so refreshing because it doesn’t talk emotional rage, sticking instead to the inconvenient facts.

Even inside this industry there are those running around claiming all classic cars will be electrified in 10 or 15 years or whatever time frame they were told by someone else. The assumption is this will be good for the environment, that driving a classic car with batteries and an electric motor will cause trees to spring forth in the Sahara Desert and the unicorns to return from the ocean.

According to Footman James' study, reality is far different because classic cars with those evil, gas-burning engines are better for the environment than new electric vehicles. The thing is people who believe the opposite just look at tailpipe emissions, behaving as if that’s everything in the equation. They don’t consider pollution generated by the manufacturing process.

In the study, Footman James mentions that in the UK a classic car on average is driven 1,200 miles a year and puts out 563 kg of CO2 as a result. But a new VW Golf is made by generating 6.8 tonnes of CO2e. Even worse, a Polestar 2 (a Swedish electric car) generates 26 tonnes of CO2 during the manufacturing process. That means you could drive your classic car for over 46 years before it generates as much CO2 as the “green” electric vehicle. Let that sink in for a moment.

Footman James rightly points out that within that 46-year period, the Polestar 2’s battery will need to be replaced, maybe even swapped for a new one twice or more. And what happens to the battery? Can it really be recycled? The answer for now is no. Meanwhile, the classic car keeps running without contributing significantly to a landfill. But you should feel bad for driving such an awful pollution machine, or so we’re told.

I wish the study dug more into the human and environmental costs associated with the extraction of raw materials to build electric cars. There’s also the fact many of these minerals are mined in authoritarian countries like China and Russia where many accusations have been levied that slave labor is used in the process.

Keep all this in mind the next time your neighbor, relative, or friend who just bought a shiny new Tesla tries guilt tripping you about owning and driving a classic. Sure, the smug self-righteous attitude can be annoying, especially when people who know next to nothing about cars are just fascinated by anything novel, but the facts don’t exactly back up their daydreams of becoming Captain Planet.

Check out Footman James’ study for yourself here.
Do I understand what this is, a comparison of CO2 production from mild recreational operation (1200 miles) of one vehicle vs the manufacturing process of another which is rarely used in that manner?

Wouldn't that be the same for everything? Creating a new pair of jeans to wear all the time is worse than occasional use of an old already made pair? Building a modern new house to live in is worse than using as a vacation cottage an old existing building?

This is a very bizarre comparison to attempt to make a point.

I've got nothing against classic cars. I just think this is really, really odd.
 

oks10

Federal Marshal
A/V Subscriber
Sep 9, 2007
11,490
6,980
1,743
Piedmont, OK
#5
Do I understand what this is, a comparison of CO2 production from mild recreational operation (1200 miles) of one vehicle vs the manufacturing process of another which is rarely used in that manner?

Wouldn't that be the same for everything? Creating a new pair of jeans to wear all the time is worse than occasional use of an old already made pair? Building a modern new house to live in is worse than using as a vacation cottage an old existing building?

This is a very bizarre comparison to attempt to make a point.

I've got nothing against classic cars. I just think this is really, really odd.
You have a valid point but I think this comparison is directed towards people that thumb their noses at gas guzzlers and go buy an EV to show how green they are. From that angle the comparison makes sense IMO.
 

steross

he/him
A/V Subscriber
Mar 31, 2004
33,228
33,349
1,743
oklahoma city
#6
You have a valid point but I think this comparison is directed towards people that thumb their noses at gas guzzlers and go buy an EV to show how green they are. From that angle the comparison makes sense IMO.
Well, if someone were to thumb their nose at a 1200 mile a year classic car, that would be really dumb. But, the “thumbing” I have seen is more directed at the real estate agent driving around LA by herself in a Hummer for example. Personally, I don’t thumb my nose at anyone’s choice, but manufacturing AND use of those vehicles would be a more appropriate comparison.
 
Last edited:
Jul 5, 2020
2,166
408
213
59
Broken Arrow
#8
The progressive crowd needs to first get a grip on reality, lose their ego, and realize that use of fossil fuel energy and development + improvement of alternative energy use are not mutually exclusive activities. Maybe follow their own "Coexist" car stickers I see.
 

okstate987

Territorial Marshal
A/V Subscriber
Oct 17, 2009
9,624
5,401
1,743
Somewhere
#11
The progressive crowd needs to first get a grip on reality, lose their ego, and realize that use of fossil fuel energy and development + improvement of alternative energy use are not mutually exclusive activities. Maybe follow their own "Coexist" car stickers I see.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
 

Birry

Federal Marshal
Feb 6, 2007
13,687
7,342
1,743
Landlocked
#14
Well, if someone were to thumb their nose at a 1200 mile a year classic car, that would be really dumb. But, the “thumbing” I have seen is more directed at the real estate agent driving around LA by herself in a Hummer for example. Personally, I don’t thumb my nose at anyone’s choice, but manufacturing AND use of those vehicles would be a more appropriate comparison.
The least they could have done was compare the same mileage per year assuming a reasonable estimate, say 12,000 miles per year. That would be a good starting point. Ignoring the production cost of the existing vehicle is a little weird, but I get it if you're talking about impacts today only.

Bottom line is that EV owners and advocates *seem* to often ignore the production and energy generation costs of EVs, and use their delusions to act superior.

Surely there is a good carbon footprint analysis of a Tesla versus something like a modern Toyota Camry out there to compare apples to apples. I'm guessing such an analysis would show them to be very close.
 

oks10

Federal Marshal
A/V Subscriber
Sep 9, 2007
11,490
6,980
1,743
Piedmont, OK
#15
Well, if someone were to thumb their nose at a 1200 mile a year classic car, that would be really dumb. But, the “thumbing” I have seen is more directed at the real estate agent driving around LA by herself in a Hummer for example. Personally, I don’t thumb my nose at anyone’s choice, but manufacturing AND use of those vehicles would be a more appropriate comparison.
You're not wrong, I was just pointing out the angle that the comparison made since. Like you've mentioned though, I don't think it's THAT common of mindset and I've certainly never taken you as someone who would be of that mindset.
Personally, I've been toying with the idea of switching one of our vehicles to electric. Absolutely nothing to do with being green or good for the environment though. Solely to just reduce our household fuel costs
 

steross

he/him
A/V Subscriber
Mar 31, 2004
33,228
33,349
1,743
oklahoma city
#16
The least they could have done was compare the same mileage per year assuming a reasonable estimate, say 12,000 miles per year. That would be a good starting point. Ignoring the production cost of the existing vehicle is a little weird, but I get it if you're talking about impacts today only.

Bottom line is that EV owners and advocates *seem* to often ignore the production and energy generation costs of EVs, and use their delusions to act superior.

Surely there is a good carbon footprint analysis of a Tesla versus something like a modern Toyota Camry out there to compare apples to apples. I'm guessing such an analysis would show them to be very close.
Yea, but having driven a Camry and driven a Tesla, they are not comparable for my needs. I have mine because is it exotic car acceleration at an affordable price and room for my family. And in three years I’ve had zero fuel costs. It works for me. I really don’t care what others drive but find the bias in these constant debates funny.
 

Binman4OSU

Legendary Cowboy
Aug 31, 2007
38,252
10,925
1,743
Stupid about AGW!!
#18
Yea, but having driven a Camry and driven a Tesla, they are not comparable for my needs. I have mine because is it exotic car acceleration at an affordable price and room for my family. And in three years I’ve had zero fuel costs. It works for me. I really don’t care what others drive but find the bias in these constant debates funny.
zero fuel costs in 3 years you say. Electric cars are quickly climbing up my radar. I drive 40 miles round trip 3 days a week. I have a golf cart at the lake that is all jazzed up and fancy and I bet I could do that trip in my golf cart every day if I really needed to. Not sure why I keep paying for oil changes every few months and Gas every week when that same amount could be making my interest payment and still have some left over each month.
 

steross

he/him
A/V Subscriber
Mar 31, 2004
33,228
33,349
1,743
oklahoma city
#19
zero fuel costs in 3 years you say. Electric cars are quickly climbing up my radar. I drive 40 miles round trip 3 days a week. I have a golf cart at the lake that is all jazzed up and fancy and I bet I could do that trip in my golf cart every day if I really needed to. Not sure why I keep paying for oil changes every few months and Gas every week when that same amount could be making my interest payment and still have some left over each month.
I got lucky and got free supercharging for life (no longer offered) and live in a utilities included building so I’ve never paid for fuel.
 

Birry

Federal Marshal
Feb 6, 2007
13,687
7,342
1,743
Landlocked
#20
Yea, but having driven a Camry and driven a Tesla, they are not comparable for my needs. I have mine because is it exotic car acceleration at an affordable price and room for my family. And in three years I’ve had zero fuel costs. It works for me. I really don’t care what others drive but find the bias in these constant debates funny.
Apples to apples, then. A Porche Cayenne might get you close. It costs $70,000 MSRP and gets 20 MPG. A Model S is around $120,000 MSRP. Assuming a Tesla requires ZERO energy costs to run, it would take you nearly 19 years of driving 12,000 miles to use the fuel required to make up the cost difference in those vehicles if gas is assumed to cost $4.50/gallon.

A Camry would take 50 years to do the same at 30 mpg and $30k MSRP, but let's throw that one out of the comparison since performance matters.

In three year's time, you've still spent WAY more on a Tesla than most comparable ICE cars. I'm guessing you don't hit a break-even point until closer to 15 years. Do you really plan to own your Tesla that long?

I like EVs, don't get me wrong. I support people driving them, etc... I'm just genuinely curious how the costs are justified since you have to pay double or triple up front to get it, then save $1,500/yr in fuels costs over the life of the vehicle (at best).