Is my 500SEL green?

OK... here's a question that's been getting noisy in our office this week.
My '88 500SEL (UK) is getting about 20MPG, and I don't drive it much because I can't really afford to.
I think that this is a green choice of car for two reasons:
1. So much energy is embodied in the manufacturer of car, it is better to run an old one for as long as possible before scrapping it.
2. I do half the miles (about 15000 at 20MPG) when compared to the A160 i just got rid of (30000 at 35MPG) - therefore less than half the fuel is burned.
I'm obviously right on point 2, but point 1 is more controversial. Does anyone know the facts about embodied energy?
I'm not arguing that we shouldn't choose economical cars when we buy NEW ones, but when selecting an old banger, I think we're OK.
Interested in your comments.
Dan
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The government measures it by emmissions and does not take mileage into account when working out if a car is green. I agree with your analysis. My SLK 350 does a few thousand miles a year so it creates less pollution than someone driving an C180 for 15000 miles per year.
My feeling is that they have set up the tax system this way to make a charge per mile more acceptable later on.
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Petrol tax is the only fair road tax... all this pissing around with company car tax and road tax is just window dressing. Shove 4p on a litre of petrol and be done with it. I drive a thirsty car, and I'd happily pay a bit more, but it would mean that the little old lady who just pops to the shops every six months wouldn't be stiffed for driving whatever she has.
Dan
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I agree. We wouldn't then need some silly in car electronic monitoring system.
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Right on. I couldn't agree more.
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On 15.04.2007 10:19, Concerned recycler wrote:

Same here.
    robert
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Robert Klemme wrote:

As far as road tax is concerned I'm with you. But company cars are taxed for other reasons. They considered are a part of your income and are taxed for that reason.
Ximinez
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A 'road tax' is payable in the UK regardless of ownership, and that is related to CO2 emission. Completely daft since CO and nitrous oxides are far more noxious.
Altogether our tax system and government monitoring of motorists is wearying. We are being screwed left, right and centre. Where is liberal old Britain going?
And Londoners are taxed even more if living in the centre. Since the extension of the zone in February I am paying hundreds of pounds for nothing, so-called 90% residents' discount notwithstanding. Previously we paid only a few pounds a year for occasionally entering the so-called congestion zone during controlled hours.
What is particularly galling is that the only place in which the amount of traffic has gone down is in the propaganda rag published by the Mayor of London, who is responsible for this scheme. Every independent report, whether formal or from cab drivers, confirms that the charging system has made little difference to traffic levels. In fact, it is thought that the extension to what are largely residential areas in west London, may result in rising traffic levels in the real centre because those of us now in the zone and paying on an annual basis can now drive into this centre at no extra cost...
A bit OT and I herewith end the rant.
DAS
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snipped-for-privacy@figuram.com wrote:

I'm with you (in my 20 yo 250D), but I have a feeling our respected govs may not agree. OTOH, I've heard that Germany, where they're starting to ban old diesels from entering city centers, they want to make an exception for old-timers. I wonder what the definition of old-timer is going to be.
My w124 has only 130.000 km, so there should be another 10 years in it...
Ximinez
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Sure that's good, but they won't slow people down on the highways. At the speeds they drive their earth impact is much higher.
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IMHO there's a false comparison being made. One cannot compare driving an old car a few miles against driving a contemporary car many miles and then claim the old one is "green" because less fuel is burned.
Cars like computers, become obsolete and ought to be replaced. Virtually all cars will become scrap, like it or not. It's a "sunk cost" that will never be recovered.
So the replacement decision is annual running cost of old vs. new, over the same annual mileage for each. An old car is hardly "green," under that standard.
Ecologically, new manufacturing methods are less polluting vs. the HC, CO2 and oil leaks from an old car. And, new cars are safer as well.
Like it or not governments will slowly but surely tax the old dogs off the road via fuel tax, inspections, SMOG surcharges etc. California owners are paid a $500 bounty to scrap their old junks just to get them off the roadways.
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IMO the German Gov will do and say anything to support their car industry.
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If you do 15k miles each year you aren't a trivial driver and should get a much more efficient and clean car. In the meantime paint it green and you may get away with it for a while longer.
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Concerned recycler wrote:

I drive over 20k a year and my 20 yo car is the best option economically. If it's in tune with today's version of the ecological bible doesn't concern me that much.

It's willow green already:
http://www.meinbenz.de/farben/ng.htm
(the second picture is my car, still at the dealer's)
Ximinez
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wrote:

As long as you don't call it "entropy green" :)
I have to say that the clear corners look very good with that colour.

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Am I really the first to notice the mistake in #2? If you do half as many km, but consume fuel at a rate of 175% the original, you are still at 87.5% of the fuel used, which IS less, BUT not half the fuel, which is what was claimed.

I would say that keeping the car out of the waste stream is a good argument, but the argument that it prevents another new car from being made is a false assumption unless you yourself are the one that might be buying the new car. Also, woudl you really scrap it if you replaced it, or would someone else carry the torch?
A few new facts to throw into the decision...
Remember that the automobile recycling industry is one of the most efficient recycling efforts. Most of the steel is reclaimed, tires are often made into roads(melted into the mixture-they showed this once on dirty jobs, but you can research it more on the internet.), and all in all it wastes little.
Emissions have really improved in the last few decades, but 88 is closer to a new car than to a 1960s car.
CO2 emmisions-the one that everyone worries about is not any less with a cleaner burning car. it is directly related to the amount of fuel burned.
No opinion-just more fodder.
Just my two cents.
Bill
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I consider my 560SEL green. As well as my 240D and 300SD. Those are on a soybean diet...I plan routes so I am not stuck in traffic jams. IMHO, our traffic planners cause the most ungreen activities, not the cars. Its insane, seeing the resources used and the pollution spewed in bumper to bumper traffic.
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