I have an addiction to petrol-powered fun, especially the 4-wheeled variety. Ever since my parents gave me a pedal go-kart when I was six, I have been obsessed with going round in circles as fast as is humanly possible.
Unfortunately, neither my own skill or my parent’s funds ever ran to any Lewis Hamilton-style antics in a kart as a young boy, but that’s not going to stop me spending my own hard earned in a way which I should really know better now that I’m an adult.
My current “projects” include an Alfa Romeo which is 35 years old that I bought on a whim, after falling in love with the red paint and the curves. Many hours, kilos of lead loading and pound notes later it has become a track car, and has proved quicker than many more modern machines seemingly more expensive and suitable for the task. I put this down to the skill of the driver. Fact is, if I add up all the invoices and envelopes of notes I’ve handed over in the pursuit of classic speed, I’d probably have enough to buy a late 90’s 911 Carerra 2. Never mind, who wants to look like an investment (b)anker anyway!
My daily steed is a debadged Mercedes C43 AMG, which is quicker than the afore-mentioned pinstripe mobile (in a straight line anyway) but looks like a taxi. Especially when I only wash it once every 3 months. Like any car buff, I’m always plotting a ridiculous fleet of replacements, currently this equates to a BMW E30 M3 with Nurburgring suspension pack plus either a Honda Beat city car and/or a 20 year-old Benz 230TE estate for the weekends (I’m sick of spilling the Alfa’s 10W/40 on the shag pile of the C43).
So, to carbon dioxide. My defence is that I work very close to where I live, quite often work at home and quite often never use my cars at weekends – most importantly, though, I always buy second hand cars. I would be prepared to pay a personal carbon tax similar to the carbon tax scheme the government is currently trying (and seemingly failing) to implement for industry.
Did you know every year we throw away serviceable old cars and buy more and more new, seemingly super efficient new cars? Did you know you can run an old diesel car on sunflower oil, carbon neutral, with only a small modification to install a fuel pipe heater to help it start on cold mornings? Did you know, on average, it takes nearly seven years to create the same amount of CO2 driving a car as manufacturing one? Bear that in mind next time you commute 50 miles to work in your new Toyota Prius…