Could Classic Cars Save The Planet?

Mon 27th Jun 2022

The race to net-zero emissions is a journey which most of the world’s leading motor manufacturers are well down the track on, but an index published this week is hoping to suggest that classic cars of day gone by might actually be better for the planet.

Quite how a car that was built in an era when the dangers of CO2 emissions were ever a concern is more environmentally friendly is a bit of a head-scratcher. But an Indicator Report published by Footman James, classic and specialist insurance provider, shows that the average classic car generates just 563kg of CO2 per year when travelling a national yearly average of 1,200 miles. Compare that to modern cars, which actually have a carbon footprint before they have even left the factory gates, the all-electric Polestar 2 costs 26 tonnes of CO2 during its production process. It would take a typical classic car 46 years to match that.

The Indicator Report does rely on the fact that classic cars are much more lightly driven than more robust everyday cars, but even with no tailpipe emissions, an already built classic is friendly to the planet.

The issue of a greener planet is not something which is lost on classic car owners, with two thirds of those polled in the report revealing that they are concerned about the effects of climate change, while more than half would consider offsetting their classic car’s CO2 emissions.

"The Indicator Report is extremely useful in determining how much of an impact our beloved classics have on the environment," explains managing director of Footman James, David Bond.

"It's easy for one to assume that classic cars are more damaging simply because of their older and less efficient engines, however, the data in this report disproves that theory.

"It's really about how these vehicles are maintained and used; it is clear that while new modern and electric cars might seem better for the planet day-to-day, the problem is how much of an impact their production causes."