There are many benefits to buying used cars beyond the obvious savings on the sale price. A new car may look and perform great, carry a manufacturer’s warranty, and feature the latest comfort and security features, but it’s worth considering a pre-owned vehicle purchase if you need a new vehicle. A pre-owned vehicle will not only be cheaper, but it will also likely cost much less to maintain over time and is a much better choice for the environment.
Recycling And Repurposing Used Vehicles Is An Environmentally Friendly Choice
Unless you plan on driving a very fuel-inefficient classic car that guzzles gas and only gets a handful of miles to the gallon, most pre-owned vehicles offer competitive gas mileage rates. Hybrid vehicles have been around long enough that many used car dealerships have at least a few available for purchase. There are countless options when it comes to pre-owned vehicle purchases, and all of them are more environmentally friendly than purchasing a brand new vehicle.
New vehicle purchases may improve vehicle manufacturers’ profit margins, but they also contribute to a tremendous amount of waste. Auto recycling has increased over the past few decades. Many people trade in vehicles for newer models and unsold pre-owned cars will eventually turn into spare parts and scrap material. As vehicle manufacturers keep producing new models year after year, they inevitably contribute to the number of pre-owned vehicles for sale in the country.
Facts About Automobile Recycling
Most auto recycling studies will report that the car you drive today will one day be a valuable source of scrap material or even usable spare parts*. If you’re thinking about the positive environmental impact a pre-owned vehicle purchase can have, consider a few facts about automobile recycling:
- Car recycling leads to about 25 million tons of recycled scrap every year. In an average year, the United States and Canada produce enough scrap material from vehicle recycling to produce about 13 million new vehicles.
- Vehicles are the most recycled consumer product in the world today. In the U.S. more than 12 million vehicles enter recycling centers each year.
- The vehicle recycling industry is the 16th largest industry in the United States and generates about $25 billion per year. Roughly 100,000 employees work at more than 7,000 vehicle recycling centers across the country.
- Vehicle recycling saves about 85 million barrels of oil each year instead of using such a large amount of a valuable resource for new vehicle production.
- Vehicle recycling contributes about 40% of the iron-based metals used in scrap processing each year.
- Car recycling reclaims potentially dangerous vehicle fluids and fuels and prevents them from harming the environment, Every year recycling saves the world from environmental damage equal to eight times the damage of the Exxon Valdez disaster.
- Automotive parts retailers can sell pre-owned and recycled auto parts at a fraction of the cost of new parts.
These are just a few of the reasons that choosing a pre-owned vehicle has significant environmental benefits. There are also significant perks for the pre-owned vehicle’s owner, too.
Concerns About Quality And Reliability Of Pre-owned Cars And Parts
Some drivers may worry about whether pre-owned or recycled auto parts are as safe and reliable as newer ones. As long as you purchase parts from a reputable dealer, you should find that the savings and quality are well worth it. Some newer parts may have defects that drivers haven’t discovered yet. They’re also more difficult and expensive to replace because they are new.
Refurbished or recycled auto parts can be as much as 20% to 80% lower than the sticker price for a new version of the same part. If you’re worried about the overall reliability of a used vehicle, this is another issue you can address by working with a trusted used car seller. Most used car dealerships offer limited warranties and service benefits, but ultimately, they stake their reputation on the quality of the vehicles they sell. If a dealer cuts corners and sells bad cars to several customers, the dealer won’t be in business for very long.
Cost Of Ownership Over Time
Overall, buying and maintaining a pre-owned vehicle will lead to a much lower overall cost after a few years compared to a new vehicle purchase. Imagine purchasing a brand-new vehicle with a five-year warranty. A few months after the warranty expires, a part fails in the new car and the replacement is several hundred dollars, plus the cost of labor. Since the vehicle is new, the manufacturer only has limited quantities of the needed part, causing the driver serious frustration and significant expense.
Compare that scenario to buying an older vehicle at a much lower initial price; you’ll likely find that older cars are much cheaper to repair because there are more parts available with lower demand. Ultimately, owners of used cars generally have a much easier time maintaining their vehicles in the long run.
Reducing The Carbon Footprint Of Vehicle Ownership
Purchasing a used car is a great way to support the auto recycling industry while saving yourself lots of money. If more people bought pre-owned vehicles it would reduce the demand for newer vehicles, therefore decreasing fossil fuel consumption and reducing the overall carbon footprint of the auto manufacturing industry. Buying used also encourages auto recycling centers to salvage as much as possible from every vehicle they process and helps limit the amount of refuse going into landfills.
The next time you have a decision between buying a pre-owned car or a used one, or buying a refurbished auto part over a new one, consider the long-term impact of your decision on both your wallet and the environment.