Letter: In the long run extra mileage is 'green'

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The Independent Online
Sir: I enjoyed - as always - Hamish McRae's piece ('Uphill struggle for a 150 mpg supercar', 25 August) on making the car more environmentally friendly and agree with everything he says. However, while it obviously makes sense to seek radical solutions for future car production, the most environmentally friendly thing you can do with a car is look after it well and make it last.

Even if you run a car for 200,000 miles, as much as 60 per cent of its total energy cost will still have been taken up in its manufacture, rather than in its consumption of fuel. I run several vehicles, the oldest of which was built in 1934 and the newest in 1974. Naturally, I am irked by the current obsession with exhaust emission requirements on older vehicles.

Similarly, I have a Marks & Spencer shirt dating from 1968 which is still perfectly serviceable and frequently used. It is made of two environmentally unacceptable materials - polyester and cotton. The former is unacceptable because it is an offspring of the petrochemical industry; the latter because commercial cotton farming generally uses vast quantities of insecticides.

However, it is still better news for the environment that I continue to cherish this shirt than buy a new one from the 'green' clothing catalogue that plopped through the letterbox this morning.

Yours faithfully

DONALD McFARLAN

Merton, Oxfordshire

25 August

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