Don’t be afraid of the 4×4

The one area that my green credentials have been challenged is the vehicle I choose to drive. Yes indeed it is a 4×4, well it can be if I choose to. The 4×4 had become the bete noire of the environmental motoring world and I know the much respected Ken Livingstone once described owners as ‘idiots’. However with the recent weather I feel my vehicle choice is a good one particularly as I live and work in areas where the roads can be treacherous in any weather.

I was pleased to see that in today’s Sunday Times ingear supplement this issue is broached in an article ‘From green pariahs to white knights” by Joseph Dunn. The summary of the piece was that where previously 4×4 owners were vilified for driving planet killers they have recently been lauded for rescuing snowed in neighbours. I know that I was able to get out and about over the Christmas and New Year period when I had to and this gave me the option of offering the chance to bring back much needed provisions to neighbours who were not able to get out and about.
When I made the choice to buy this car I did so taking in the pros and cons of the environmental impact. At the time I was running two vehicles an old Volvo 850 and an even older Renault Traffic, one as our family vehicle and the other to do garden centre deliveries. What made sense was to combine one vehicle to serve both purposes and with some careful research I went ahead and bought this vehicle two years ago. Now I rarely use the 4 wheel drive mode and I have changed the tyres to increase the mileage which is comparable to the volvo’s. I do not just do the school run like the Chelsea tractor brigade nor do I have a collection of vehicles sitting on my drive. I also let it get dirty and do not use a pressure washer every week which results in a huge use of water. Occasionally the bucket and sponge come out and when they do it contains a wash that does not have silicones, solvents or other pollutants in it.
I would still prefer to see people choosing vehicles to suit their needs and take into account the environmental impact. When I lived in London my cars was the Fiat Cinquecto

I can recall many comments about me driving such a small car but it certainly served its purpose and I could fit into the smallest gaps and parking spaces and its CO2 emissions were one of the lowest at the time. It would be a struggle with two boys, two large dogs and a ‘boot’ full of plants so I will stick with my choice here in rural Co Cork.

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