Saturday, February 17, 2007

Is it OK to recycle old Land Rovers?

We get a lot of emails from drivers who are proud of the fact that they have kept their old Land Rover running for 30 years. They feel that it's better for the environment than purchasing a new one. They also say it's easy to find old parts. Some also convert their old engines to use veggie oil and LPG.

As an example, Jonathan Holmes writes: "75% of all land rovers ever built are still on the road today - is this not an achivement? I bet in 50 years time half the crap that is built now won't still be running!"

In the past I would have agreed with these comments. On the surface it's seems good practice to keep something going for as long as possible. Like a good pair of leather shoes. But in thinking it through I realise there are some arguments against doing this, primarily on safety grounds.

If drivers are keeping their old Defenders alive to work on the farm, then it might make sense. However, if they are being used on the major highways then I would have to disagree becasue new models have state of the art safety equipment built in, as well as more structural support in case of collisions.

Also, newer models should* have better fuel efficiency and air quality standards.

(*It seems that many new large LR models get worse mileage than old models)

So, while it may make sense to keep the old Land Rover alive and kicking on the farm, or to use in far away places where you can easily rebuild the vehicle when it breaks down, in the new urban jungle, they just don't make sense, really.