Can You Claim To Be Environmentally Conscious While Owning A Car?

Can You Claim To Be Environmentally Conscious While Owning A Car?

We all care about the environment and most of us do our level best to limit our impact, but can you really claim to be environmentally conscious while still driving a car? Well, it depends.

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If you own a 100% electric vehicle, your environmental impact starts and ends with the manufacture of that car. And to be fair, that’s not an insignificant contribution to your carbon footprint. It takes a lot of resources to manufacture a car. But after a while, the absence of emissions and demand for gasoline outweighs the initial carbon cost.

What about if you own an old car? Again, it depends. You’re not creating demand for manufacturing, but that old car will have higher emissions and generally be polluting. There will come a point when it comes more environmentally friendly to buy a new car.

But not everyone can afford that and while many people may want to lower their impact, reality gets in the way. We’ve all got to get to work and not everyone has the option to use public transportation.

And that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can do as drivers to lower our impact. A study conducted by researchers at ethical car recycling company Scrap Car Network has revealed that motorists may be more environmentally conscious than they’re often given credit for, with Honda, Ford and Citroen drivers being especially committed to lowering their environmental impact.

When asked about their driving habits, more than half (54%) of motorists demonstrated a solid commitment to lowering their environmental impact. 71% of drivers said they avoid making journeys of less than a mile. 72% said they carpool or liftshare when possible and 20% said they would consider leaving their car at home if possible.

When quizzed on the environmental impact of driving, the UK’s motorists demonstrated an impressive degree of understanding too. Almost two thirds (61%) disagreed with some of the most commonly believed myths about cars and the environment. 

For example, 68% understood that vehicle excise duty is based on emissions and that electric cars are normally exempt. 85% correctly identified that tyre pressure had a large impact on a car’s emissions and 86% agreed that idling wastes fuel, is harmful to the environment and that switching off and restarting the engine is typically less harmful.

The most commonly-held myth about cars and the environment was related to car size. 72% of drivers incorrectly agreed that small cars are always more environmentally friendly than larger cars, despite that not necessarily been the case.

Says William Fletcher, managing director of, who commissioned the research:

"Despite what many people assume, motorists are environmentally conscious and many drive because they have to, in-spite of their concerns for the environment, not due to ignorance. This research shows that the majority of motorists understand how to lower the environmental impact of driving and are committed to doing it.”

“While discouraging people from making unnecessary journeys and reducing the impact cars have on the environment is an important part of the overall picture, motorists would also benefit from more support with alternate options to driving too, especially those poorly served by public transport."

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