I’m not convinced by the global warming argument. It seems that the goalposts move according to the current weather. When I was a boy, the thinking was that we were heading into another ice age. In recent years, we’ve been told to expect the UK to have a Mediterranean climate, wet summers, dry summers, cool summers, cold winters, warm wet winters, and so on, with the latest predictions conveniently based on the previous 12 months’ weather.
Regardless of all that, though, I do believe that we should be responsible with our car use and not waste resources. So is a Porsche an environmentally friendly choice? Let’s look at the facts.
New Porsches are very efficient
The latest Porsches have astonishingly efficient engines, featuring direct fuel injection (DFI), stop-start technology and much more. I’ve seen over 40mpg from a Porsche 997 – which is pretty good going for a 3.6-litre engine. Even the older models will exceed 30mpg if you drive sensibly.
If you opt for a Panamera or a Cayenne, you have the choice of Hybrid models that produce zero emissions during town driving. The Panamera is a plug-in Hybrid which means you can charge it at home, while both cars charge the batteries while the conventional engine is running. All clever stuff.
Going up a notch or two, the Porsche 918 Spyder takes the Hybrid concept to supercar levels, proving that you can have an environmentally friendly car with truly astonishing performance. And you can bet that the Spyder’s advanced technology will feed down to more everyday models very soon.
Porsches have a long life
Porsche has claimed that 60 percent of all its cars built are still on the road. Now, I suspect that will be less true of the newer models but I can well believe it of the classics, including air-cooled 911s. The majority of Porsches we sell fall into this category and many are at least 20 years old and still going strong. You can’t say that of many Fords and Vauxhalls.
It astonishes me that so many modern cars and thought of as little more than disposable white goods, to be scrapped and replaced every few years, when they start to cause problems or begin to look a bit scruffy. You don’t throw your house away when it needs redecorating or the boiler breaks down.
Keeping cars running has to be better than continually making new ones and throwing old ones away.
A Porsche 911 is more economical than a Ford Fiesta
That is, a Porsche 911 doing 6000 miles a year is more economical than a Ford Fiesta doing 30,000 miles a year. In other words, a car is only harmful to the environment when it is being driven – and the more you drive it, the worse it is.
So many Porsche owners I speak to admit that they don’t use their cars that much – with many insuring them on a classic policy with, typically, a 6000 mile a year limit.
The real environmental criminals are the company car drivers going and up and down motorways to pointless meetings and commuters travelling to a job they could do at home.
In this age of technology why do we need to travel so much? Rather than investing in roads and a ridiculous high-speed rail link, the government would be far better giving us country-wide high-speed internet and tax incentives for home working.
OK, not everyone can work from home (tricky if you’re a surgeon or factory worker) but a lot of people jump in their cars every morning just to drive to an office where they then sit in front of a computer all day; which they could easily do at home. If those people worked from home just one or two days a week, they’d have a better quality of life and there’d be far less cars on the roads.
Remove the need to use cars for commuting and we can return to that golden age of motoring when people use cars for fun, rather than as a means to an end.