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Is it more environmentally friendly to run something like a Land Rover for 30 years than buy a succession of hatchbacks?

Having owned and run a 1991 Land Rover Defender since passing my test at 17 four years ago, I was pleased to see the article a few weeks back in favour of older cars as first cars. The Landy has provided trouble-free motoring, cheap insurance and servicing, and escapes the Congestion Charge. It has also coped with practically everything that university life throws at it. In defence of it being a 'gas guzzler', I've always argued that its environmental impact over its lifetime of say 30 years has got to be less than producing, running and scrapping three small hatchbacks that may only last 10 years each? Is there any truth in this?

Asked on 2 October 2010 by JC, Bristol

Answered by Honest John
That isn't the way governments are playing it. They are legislating increasingly complex safety and emissions equipment into cars that have limited life and will ensure that most become economic basket cases before they are 10 years old. In coming years we can expect to see many more 7-10-year-olds being ‘recycled’ via the crusher.
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