The reality couldn’t be more different, but there’s still a lot to be said for getting the most out of the car you have, and extending its life.
Some people take that to an extreme. They include Irv Gordon, a 73-year-old retired science teacher from New York State and Guinness world record The holder of most miles driven by a single owner, in a non-commercial vehicle.
How many miles? Currently, Gordon’s 1966 Volvo P1800 Coupe has seen 2.99 million miles pass under its wheels, with 3 million miles expected sometime in September.
Gordon bought the all-new car in 1966, and loved it so much on his first weekend with the car that it had already driven enough to require its first service on Monday. The car has been regularly maintained on a religious basis, and for the past fifteen years it has been cared for by Volvo’s own technician, Nino Gambino at Volvoville in Huntingdon, New York.
While the P1800 undoubtedly consumed its fair share of consumables at the time, as well as oil and other fluids.
And gasoline, for that matter. Assuming a Volvo is capable of 25 mpg, 3 million miles runs on 120,000 gallons of gas.
If you were to pick just one reason it would probably be Gordon’s record never To beat it, it’s the cost of gas. At today’s prices alone, assuming they never budge on an average of $3.65 a gallon, these 120,000 gallons will only cost you $438,000. We are afraid to think what four or five more decades will add to this number …
Reuse or buy new?
We think Gordon’s story is fascinating, and we envy anyone who can happily drive the same car for as long as they have it. Perhaps the ultimate tale of reusing what you have.
But without wanting to undermine his accomplishments – seriously, we enormously Surprised – there still comes a point when buying a newer, more efficient car is the greenest thing.
According to MA Weiss et al. , in their 2000 report from the MIT Energy Laboratory, On the road in 2020: Lifecycle analysis of new automotive technologiesAnd 75 percent of your car’s lifetime carbon emissions come from the fuel you burn.
With Gordon’s car alive many times For the average vehicle’s life, fuel use would have contributed a greater proportion of total carbon emissions – as well as pollutants other than greenhouse gases.
Besides, the significant mileage savings in newer cars and the relatively small environmental impact of their production makes them a more environmentally friendly option than continuing in the same car.
Not that we envy Gordon’s efforts, and we’re certainly not suggesting he should have sold his record-breaking car so long ago.
He is, after all, only one driver in one car, and the combined efforts of millions of hybrid vehicles have offset the use of his own car several thousand times over. As much as we applaud hybrid cars, no company has yet released one as beautiful as the Volvo P1800 Coupe.
But if anyone tells you that it is better to continue using old cars than to drive a new, efficient one, tell them that this is not true even for the longest-distance driver on earth…