306610 km

What is the most planet-friendly car you can own?

Our dashboard display
Our dashboard display

 

None.

Okay, very clever. We should all walk and bike and take transit everywhere.

But what if you really need a car.

You probably thought of the latest, newest most fuel efficient cars like the electrics, the hybrids, the fuel-cells or simply the very efficient ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars we have these days.

The problem with all these choices is their newness.

With all the resources that go into these cars–ANY of these cars–and how those resources get shipped around the world to different factories in different countries, it is rarely better for the planet to buy a new car.

Fortunately, when an inefficient, polluting gas-guzzler is finally put to rest, it can at least be mostly recycled.

In British Columbia we have a program to test emissions of people’s cars every year called AirCare. Your car has to pass AirCare before you can insure it. The result is people maintain their cars better and pollution has decreased. Yay! The problem is that AirCare also encourages us to buy new cars. A new car doesn’t have to worry about Aircare and we don’t have to keep fixing it up all the time.

I was too busy to notice when we passed 300K
I was too busy to notice when we passed 300K

A few months ago, with little fanfare, our little 2001 Toyota Prius crossed the 300 000 kilometre mark.

I well up with pride at the thought. Just…give me…a moment. Okay, I’m alright.

We bought our car used in 2006 for $CAD10 000. We found it on craigslist and I think the guy scammed us a little, but nevertheless I think of it as an example of vision.

I had a clear vision of the car we wanted: a Prius. In spite of the fact we could not afford a new one, I kept looking. Finding a used one was cheaper but also better for the planet. Win-win!

Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

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