I don’t drive much – wouldn’t selling my car and buying a hybrid actually hurt the environment?

My daily commute is about 2.5 miles each way and I rarely drive more than 4 miles away from my home. If I sold my current car and bought a hybrid, the buyer of my old car would likely drive more than I do – in essence using more gas and creating more pollution.

In a more general sense, for hybrid to be effective, don’t old cars have to come off the road for them to have a positive effect on the environment?

yes, it will hurt the environment.i would suggest waking up 3-5 hours early(depending on how fast you walk) to get to your destination.it will benefit both your health and the environment.if you live in the city where there is a lot of traffic and car pollution, then wear a protective mask to prevent more unhealthy air from entering your lungs.also wear suntan lotion and a visor to shade from the dangerous uv sun rays.bring along your mp3 player with some dance music to get you more upbeat for the 4-5 mile to/from walk.as people are passing you by in their environment unfriendly vehicles & cheeseburgers in their hand and suddenly develop a shocked face as to why someone would actually walk, instead of driving in an air conditioned car, just wave & smile:)

they might feel a bit guilty and abandon their cars to join you?!

a bicycle is a good idea too but if we want to revert back to the simple, cleaner & greener way of life, then it must be all natural and not always dependent on man-made things.

re:justice4all-you sound like a jerk.neener neener neener:-P
If you sell your car to a person who will use it, then no harm done. The buyer was going to buy a car anyway, so why not yours? If he drives it 10 times more miles than you, all that means is it will wear out sooner. But he would have done that with some other car, so you have not prevented him from doing that by not selling him a car. As long as you had one car before and after the transaction you still have one car, and the car you used to have is being used by someone who would have bought a car anyway, I cannot see any harm in "moving up" to a hybrid.

This reminds me a an episode the the old TV show "Wings" where a lady heard that Styrofoam cups are bad for the environment, so she buys paper cups. When asked what she did with the remaining Styrofoam cups, she said she threw them away. That is bad for the environment, which was the joke and the message, but if she had given (or sold) them to another person who was going to use them, then it would have been OK.
Sell the car and buy a bicycle.
Keep your car, buy a bicycle. Easier on the environment and your wallet.
Old cars do come off the road all the time - that's not it.

You are correct in assuming that for you to buy a new car (any new car) you'll never wear out is over consumption. Stick with what meets your needs. When you do have to replace it look for the smallest most efficient car that meets your needs.

If everyone just did that we'd be a whole lot better off.
Yes driving with a car that runs an gas is bad. Gas pollutes the air and thats bad for the enviroment so i would get an electric car if i were you.
Good answer by camp. Whoever would have bought your car will be buying a similar car regardless. Eventually your car will get old and end up in a junkyard. Once it's built, the car's emissions are almost unavoidable, unless it gets destroyed early.

There are many other options as well - biking to work, using an electric bike, and electric scooter, an electric car, etc. If you're rarely going more than 4 miles, any of these are very viable options.
It's very possible the person buying your car is buying it because the one he or she has is much older and is putting many more pollutants into the air.So they will be getting their car off the road. "Good job by everyone".
Sell Your Car And Buy a Bicycle or an electric scooter
Yes...No...Wait? What?
why do u need a car at all?

its never hurtfull to buy a hybrid. the other guy is going to buy a car (it doesnt have to be yurs).
This is a interesting question :)

Everyone in our family drives 35+ year old cars. We believe in the philosophy of "use it up, wear it out" which tends to be a very environmentally sound practice.

While a hybrid car is a great choice for someone who doesn't have a car, or is looking to replace a gas guzzler that is seeing a great deal of road use, for someone in your situation, it really doesn't make sense.

The argument can be made that donating your car to a charity or selling it to someone else keeps the car on the road and out of the landfill. While this is true of newer cars, its an entirely different story with older cars.

You probably have the economic resources to keep your car in tip top running condition ~ regular maintenance keeps a car running at maximum efficiency, which consumes less gas.

Low income families often do not have these resources; therefore, the car might consume more fuel then when you owned it. And when the car breaks down, then what? If our state is an indicator, these broken down cars are left on the side of the road, ditched in vacant fields, dumped in the backyard or elsewhere, making it someone else's problem. Once abandoned, anything that could have been salvaged is now rusted to bits. This is particularly common in states with lots of open space :)

Scrapping a perfectly good car is a waste of good resources as well...and not all parts of a car are recyclable. And don't forget, it takes resources to manufacture a hybrid car.

In the end, riding your bike, but keeping your old car, giving it regular maintenance, and literally driving it into the ground is the soundest practice of all.
You make an excellent point. Given the very short mileage that you normally drive it probably does make sense for you just to keep the car you have rather than replacing it with something more efficient. If you were to buy another car the pollution that it's manufacture generates may well exceed any savings that you could ever achieve. That might not be true if you have a car made prior to about 1965 or so. Those old cars are very polluting, but if that is not the case keep yours. You have some other alternatives though that you might want to consider.

Since your commute is so short you might want to consider bicycling. This has the added benefit of giving you exercise and getting you into better shape. Since YOU are fueling that vehicle, any CO2 that you breath out is from entirely renewable resources. If your not up for that here is another idea.

You might want to consider an electric scooter. That might be a really fun alternative to getting around. They are real inexpensive to buy and to operate and because they are so small compared to a car the pollution cost to manufacture should be recoverable. Did I mention it could also be a lot of fun. I wish I could justify one. Unfortunately my commute is about 25 miles one way with a big hill in between and so that just doesn't work for me. I drive a Prius instead and with my long commute it saves a ton of gas. By the way I have bicycled to work at times, driving about half way and biking the rest. I really need to get back to that to get into better shape!

As for hybrids to be effective. Consider the total demand for transportation, which is growing all of the time. That means that the total number of cars on the road is growing all of the time as well. If the new car added is conventional that will add a certain amount of pollution. If the new car added is one of the very efficient hybrids that will add less pollution.

So adding a hybrid can be better even if the older car is not retired right away, because it avoids adding a new conventional car. Also in general the old car that you sell will be junked before the new hybrid you purchase. Therefore there will be a period of time where the hybrid is in use after the old car has been removed from the road.

The point you raise about the person buying your car likely driving more than you and thus generating more pollution than you save is certainly true. However for purposes of your calculation you should not count that and here is why. Whether that person buys your car or not, they will buy some car and drive it. Therefore they will generate that polution whether you sell them your car or not. Unless you know for sure that your car will generate more polution than the car they would otherwise buy, which is something that you cannot know, you should not even consider their pollution in your calculation. Instead you need to consider if your new car can pay for itself in your pollution savings, which in your case it most probably cannot.

Interesting question.
It's very commendable that you want to help the environment by being concerned what the next owner is going to do with your car.

What gets me is the people that are telling you to ride a bike, think they are doing their part by driving 25+ miles (50 miles both ways) in their Prius boasting 50mpg, when they would be using the same amount of gas as you if you were driving a gas guzzling 5mpg car.

People need to move closer to their jobs or get a job closer to their home. People who commute long distances are the problem not inefficient cars.
Thank you for thinking about the environment! That said,no more than you drive,it will have very little impact on the environment.Hybrid cars are expensive and the maintenance can be quite expensive also.Just like any thing else that is new on the market they will come down in price before too long (look at computers ).I would wait to see what happens before I go out and buy one.Also as time goes by they will have the bugs worked out,and they will be more dependable.Again,thanks for thinking about the environment.
Most of these answers sound like they are from reasonable people. Polly Pocket sounds like she might be in first grade.

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