I’m in the market for a car, having sold out quite spectacularly on the issue of public transport. It’s all very well me walking and bussing myself to uni but when Mrs Zero is starting a new job with hellish working hours and facing a commute of an hour and ten minutes verses a drive of half an hour, we’re talking a particularly inconvenient truth. The compromise is to get a car for work but stick to walking and public transport for leisure, lifestyle and sporting activities.
Zeroist principles have not been abandoned completely, however; there is much hand-wringing to be done when buying a vehicle. First, we’ve decided not to buy a new car, partly because it’s wasteful to manufacture new things when millions of used ones are knocking about, and partly because we can’t afford one. On our budget we’re figuring something made when Macaulay Culkin was popular is about the best we can expect.
Second, there’s trying to find the most environmentally friendly second hand car we can afford. Here we’re talking energy source and carbon emissions and wading into jargon like ‘Blutec’, ‘E85’, ‘homogenous charge’ and ‘diesel’. An electric car would, of course, be the ultimate car, particularly when charged by green electricity, but then Natalie Portman would be the ultimate girlfriend and I’m just as likely to get my hands on her. The chance of a hybrid that mixes petrol and electricity is also unlikely, the likes of a second hand Prius or Jazz too expensive for us at present. This environmentalism lark can be tricky when you’re broke.
Knowing more or less nothing about cars, here we need to turn to a resource like Clean Green Cars that sorts cars into sizes and then ranks them by environmental goodness. If we go for a nippy wee tiny thing we’re talking a Smart, Hyundai i10 or Kia Picanto. If we go a bit bigger we’re looking at the likes of a Suzuki Swift, Toyota Yaris, Polo and maybe a Corsa or Fiesta. The trick is to find a new enough model to get the low emissions described but old enough to buy for about £2.50. And if we can find one that’s diesel we’ll get additional Gore points, being as how it spews less gunk into the air.
So it’s off to websites, showrooms and joyriding dump sites to see what kind of lousy compromise we can come up with. First though, we’re off to Nepal. Hello another round of Nepal diaries, goodbye normal gastrointestinal function.
Photo credit: Alex Gallacher