LAC Pollution Musings, was Massachusetts 4KTQ owner question

Lines Peter Peterl at
Tue Dec 17 13:12:56 EST 2002

Thanks for the interesting post, Rob.  I don't have any knowledge of the
amount of pollution created during manufacture, but I personally like
keeping old cars running.  It's a fact that newer cars are cleaner out the
tailpipe, but like Rob points out, there is some cost to the environment in
building new and discarding the old.  Like most things enviro-political,
there alot of factors involved so there is no always-right or always-wrong
answer.  It seems that alot of laws get written without proper consideration
of the facts or hard science.  This is disappointing.  The frustrating thing
is that were are at the point where emission controls on engines only net
very small gains at a relatively high cost, but all the legislation is aimed
at the engine.  What about vehicle weight?  Proper tire inflation?  Vehicle
aerodynamics?  Where are the laws for that?  I remember an EPA study that
found we (the entire USA) could reduce our annual gasoline consumption by
something like 10% simply by keeping our tires inflated to the proper
pressure!  That's a double-digit gain for virtually no cost.  Seems like a

I have heard in the past that the automotive industry is actually very good
about recycling.  I seem to remember a high number like 90-95% recycling of
materials.  In fact, the only industry that does better is the aluminum
beverage can industry (>98% recycling).  This is probably due to the fact
that the majority of a car is good old fashioned iron-alloy.  It's becoming
harder to recycle cars because of all the new materials, but the industry as
a whole does pretty well.  I'm always amazed (and encouraged) to see a
plastic recycling code molded onto some obscure plastic car part.

There's a Valvoline commercial that goes: "I like new things.... especially
when they get old."

Peter Lines

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