If you’re a millennial considering your first car purchase…procrastinate a while longer and do the environment a huge favor.
Every year that you delay your first car purchase prevents a cloud of CO2 that’s 40’x 40’x 40 – the size of a three bedroom house. Considering the possible impact on a daily basis, that’s 200 cubic feet of CO2 you’re avoiding kicking into the atmosphere, 200 one foot, by one foot, by one-foot box of CO2 that the earth takes decades to absorb.
If you’re considering a first-time car purchase, hang-on and delay a little longer, consider these points.
Cars Are Dense with Embodied Energy. Embodied energy is the collective calculation of all the energy consumed and its related CO2 emissions directly related to mining, processing, and transporting the raw materials to a manufacturing plant that melts and presses these materials into various parts, then onto the assembly line that bolts, glues, and paints these parts into a shiny new vehicle that’s shipped by rail and truck to your local car showroom.
A Car Purchase Just Strengthens An Out of Touch Market That Prefers Gas Guzzlers– Your wallet and economic decisions speak louder than any protest that you’ve dreamed of participating in. Vote with your wallet and send the car producers a message – that you wanting for a more fuel efficient, even a fuel free car.
Transportation Expels About A Third Of Our CO2 – In the U.S., 27% of our emissions are related to transportation. That’s inclusive of trucks, trains, cars, every vehicle. That’s a significant portion of your footprint, and a portion that if you are looking to shaved down your annual and lifetime carbon footprint, it is an area that can be shaved down, day by day.
Its More Expensive To Drive Then Many Initially Calculate The cumulative expense of loan payment, regular vehicle maintenance, insurance, and operation expenses, surprise most owners whenever they pull up a spreadsheet and analysis it. There’s a reason that the 2015, current mileage reimbursement standard is 57 cents per mile. That’s inclusive of car value, gasoline, maintenance, insurance, plus normal wear and tear towards a depreciated value. Not to mention the ever-present risk of getting into an accident. So that two miles, or four-mile round trip to the pharmacy or to see a friend, actually costs you a few dollars- it adds up quickly.
Public Transportation Turn Coat – Face it, once you buy a car, you’re casting a non-supporting vote for local transportation authority. From the public transportation authority’s perspective, you’re a lost customer and other than possibly your daily commute, you’ll less likely to set foot in the system.
Its A Vote For More Parking Lots, Roads, Urban Sprawl and Congestion – With your new wheels, you’ve become a “card-carrying” member of the state road system, joining all the other faceless drivers belching CO2 running senseless errands, instead of sitting comfortable, stress-free on the train or bus seat high above the madness, bopping with your ear-buds.
Walkability – If you need justification the need for a car because your neighborhood is not very friendly to pedestrians, or it is not walkable, then check out Walkscore.com estimates the walkability of your neighbor. If your neighborhood shows as a “Walkers Paradise”, then “Lucy you have a lot of explaining to do!”
Reduces Your Lifetime Carbon Footprint – Every lifestyle decision we make layers on more cubic squares of CO2 to our lifetime pyramid of CO2. Every day that we can do without, or postpone, whittles down and keeps our footprints trim.
Note From The Writer: In full transparency, I’m a baby-boomer, smack in the middle of this crushing tide of the great unwashed. I know my brethren have done more than their fair share of contributing to the climate crisis, so some may view this as hypocritical, but trust me, these points have been composed with good intentions and better hindsight.
How much CO2 does a typical car expel annually? Source; American Forest)
– 12,000 mile average per year per passenger vehicle (cars, minivans, pick-ups, vans and SUVs) ÷ 25.5 average miles per gallon
– 470.6 average gallons per year
× 17.68 average pounds of CO2 per gallon of gas
= 8,320 pounds of CO2 per vehicle per year
= 1 pound of CO2 at 70 degrees consumes 8.7 cubic feet
= So 8320 pounds of CO2 per year equals 72,384 cubic feet or a room that’s a little more that 40x40x40 (40 feet wide, 40 feet high, and 40 feet long)