In Praise Of Older Cars

Posted on June 26th, 2008 by GEM Motoring Assist

CAMPAIGNING motoring association, GEM Motoring Assist (GEM), which looks after the interests of all road users, says the Government is wrong if it persists with plans to penalise drivers of older cars with higher taxes.

“Quite simply the economics don’t add up,” says Chief Executive of GEM, David Williams. “There is no reason why a properly maintained vehicle that is putting on a few years and miles and is driven with care and consideration should be any more polluting than a modern vehicle. “If the economists were tolook at the cost and energy that is wasted in scrapping and disposing of perfectly good, if mature, cars and the massive use of resources it takes to build a new car the equation would be very different.”

David said that smokers understood the rationale of this type of thinking. “In the old days a cigarette lighter lasted for life, was refillable and had a solid metal body with replaceable flints that just went on and on. Now we litter our streets and fill our waste bins with cheap disposable lighters that have to be recycled in some way or go to land fill. This throw away society is really a retrograde step. We don’t mend shoes any more or darn socks. Now those that manage society have decided to pick on cars.”

He says that cars are getting bigger, wider and sometimes heavier with every replacement model that is launched. “Just look at a typical family
hatch-back like the VW Golf that has really plumped up since its early lean beginnings,” said David.

He explains: “Because we have the room in these fat new vehicles we also tend to carry around unnecessary items and never clear out boots. This can dramatically add to a cars weight and make it drink fuel.”

GEM claims there are plenty of examples where owners of older car are extra careful about maintenance as they wish to keep the vehicle running
sweetly and with a simpler construction will often lift the bonnet and check things out themselves. The organisation, that has more than 60,000 members and was founded three quarters of a century ago, claims drivers of aging vehicles often motor with great care and avoid dramatic acceleration and braking that puts too much pressure on their favoured transport.

“Economic driving is often as much a matter of the style the operator uses as anything else,” says David. “Owners of a small family car of yesteryear such as a 1948 Ford Anglia* will tell you that by making careful progress they can return up to 45 mpg. Very adequate even by modern standards. Even an out-and-out super car like a late 1970s BMW M1 that could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds would return 30 mpg.**”