The cost of a new car goes beyond the sticker price. We aren’t talking about tax, maintenance, gas, and whatever a destination fee is. There is a real environmental cost to creating a new car.
While a new car may get better gas mileage than an older car a 2004 analysis by Toyota found that as much as 28 percent of the carbon emissions generated during the lifecycle of a typical car occur during manufacturing and distribution to retail channels.
Per pound a new car costs 31,362 Btus of energy to produce, including rubber, fluids, glass, metal, and a battery, Hybrids take even more energy because of the number of batteries they require. The average weight of a passenger car as of 2004 was 3,239 pounds. At 31k Btus per pound that’s almost 900 gallons of gasoline to create the average new car (113,500 Btus per gallon of gasoline). That’s a lot of gas burned before you ever fill the tank.
Does this mean you should never buy a new car? Of course not, maybe you need more space, or want something smaller for the city, or safer for your kids or pets. But don’t just leave your old car sitting in the driveway or the garage. You can donate your car so someone else won’t have to go out and buy a new car. Recycle your old car today by donating it to a charity and help them do good work at the same time.