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Three lattes a day or a year of classic car ownership? According to a new report, the two could be comparable in terms of CO2 emissions.
Bicester Heritage-based PR and communications agency, loop, has done some number-crunching in an attempt to measure the carbon footprint of the UK’s classic car fleet, and it has come up with some interesting observations in its study, ‘Quantifying classic car emissions’, released this week, on 17 October.
To put it another way, if you’re not a coffee drinker, loop also states that, on average, a classic car’s annual emissions are roughly equivalent to a return flight between London and New York, or most people’s three-day Christmas celebrations.
For the study, loop defined all cars manufactured before 1992 as ‘classic’ – it found that there are 874,083 registered with the DVLA, however 461,515 of these are declared as SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification).
It is difficult to quantify classic car emissions, because a majority of the vehicles were manufactured prior to formalised standards.
The study examined data from the past 70 years relating to fuel consumption, usage and trends to calculate a figure for the average CO2 emissions of Britain’s classic cars, based on the fact that the average annual mileage of a classic car in the UK is 1200 miles.
The report concludes that classic car emissions account for just 0.22% of the CO2 output of Britain’s entire transport sector. At a personal level, this is roughly equivalent to drinking three cups of your favourite milky coffee per day for a year.
“Assigning a figure to the carbon footprint of the UK’s classic cars has long been a challenge,” said Alex Kefford, the report’s author.
“By taking a data-first approach that included developing our own software … we’ve been able to shed some light on this particularly tricky topic.”
He adds: “Along the way we’ve discovered that the humble MGB is the most popular classic with Brits, that there are more classic Ford Escorts and Volkswagen Golfs declared as SORN as there are registered on our roads, and that average passenger car fuel economy has doubled since 1956.”
Many of the country’s classic Land-Rovers were not included in the study because they are registered as LGVs, however loop aims to produce a future report detailing their carbon footprint.
Additionally, the results do not take into account the rising popularity of electric conversions of classic vehicles in the UK – loop decided that their impact on the final results would have been trivial because at present they are few in number.
You can read the full report here.
Images: Haymarket Archive