I recently purchased a car because my old one didn't suite my needs anymore. I'm in snow country Colorado, and I drove a minivan. Really? I traded it in for a 2005 Subaru Outback. I'm already glad I did, but was it a green purchase?
One viewpoint is that it is. The Prius is thought to be one of the greenest affordable cars out there, but it isn't without it's flaws. Some research suggests that a Prius would have to go over 46k miles before it made up for the energy and resources used to make it, versus buying a used car. Not just any used car of course will do. Some say the greenest cars you can buy right now are mid-90's economy cars, like the Toyota Tercel, or the Geo Storm.
The other train of thought is my purchase wasn't green. That car manufacturers don't care so much about what people buy when it comes to used cars, and that I wasn't flexing my consumer muscle. Manufacturers are looking at what people buy to make choices as to what to make, and my purchase didn't contribute to that.
I will say this. My own thought is that I made the right purchase for myself. I don't have a carpayment, because I didn't over extend myself on a new car. I'm not exposing myself or my children to the new car smell, which really is toxic fumes. My car already has 100k miles on it, it's paid it's debt to the resources it's made, and will continue to do so because Subaru makes such long lasting reliable cars. It will probably give me another 100k miles or more before it dies. With it still getting about 28 city, 32 highway...it's not too bad on the mileage either.
So what do you think? Will your next car be used, or new?
2. The Greater Greater Washignton