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  1. #1
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    how to convince my boyfriend to drive a low-emissions car?

    Hi! This is actually my first post to these forums. I'm working on going carfree--my car is, I admit, still sitting in my parents' garage at the moment, but it IS listed on craigslist, and I haven't driven since October or driven regularly since August. It's going great for me! I have a pretty little bike and just got a set of panniers and an awesome rainjacket for Christmas!

    My boyfriend, though, is very much not carfree--and you gotta pick your battles. However, the engine in his car just bit the dust, and rather than fixing it, it's probable that he will sell the whole car for whatever he can get and buy a new one. He wants a vintage Mini or British roadster or something, and while they are totally adorable and get okay or good gas mileage and all that, my understanding is that they have pretty bad emissions (and cars more than 30 years old don't have to pass emissions tests). I'm having trouble convincing him to care. Basically, two things matter to him in a car: 1. cute factor and 2. speed/vroom factor (I did point out to him that those old Minis aren't so much vroom vroom cars...)

    So, I'm looking for some simple, unignorable stuff to tell or show him that might convince him that emissions (or lack thereof) really are important AND/OR that individuals can make a difference with individual choices and actions (not just regarding vehicle emissions). Nothing too heavy-handed that will just make him defensive. Humor definitely welcome! (And if you guys know where I could find actual emissions data for vintage cars, that would be awesome.)

    Thanks! You guys are an inspiration. And happy holidays!

  2. #2
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Nice thing about low e cars is that they usually also get good mileage. Most people won't complain about that.
    Not too much to say here

  3. #3
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    No lowered emissions = no sex.... would definitely work on me

    It's like the Kyoto bedroom protocol

  4. #4
    Senior Member bhchdh's Avatar
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    I'd have to agree that you should push the high MPG factor, the low emissions will be there.

  5. #5
    Mister Goody Two Shoes KnhoJ's Avatar
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    On one hand, vintage Britmobiles do have a reputation for not burning gasoline during a significant portion of their lives... They're perfect for someone who really likes working on cars as a hobby and has alternative methods of transportation.

    On the other hand, modern catalytic convertors are cheap and quite unrestrictive. Pop in a generic universal model, and it'll eat a shocking portion of unburnt hydrocarbons, even on old carburated cars. Not to mention, it'll deodorize the exhaust. We're all getting spoiled with these new cars, old cars without catalytic convertors stink!

  6. #6
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    No lowered emissions = no sex.... would definitely work on me

    It's like the Kyoto bedroom protocol
    This argument would certainly convince me. Hell, I'm pretty sure it would convince the President to sign up for Kyoto.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    No lowered emissions = no sex.... would definitely work on me

    It's like the Kyoto bedroom protocol
    in all seriousness, this will work.
    ". . .a striped jersey under his jacket; bared calves (outside the bicycle track); cap pushed back; feet in a false position on the pedals; a barking horn, a disorderly appearance, an always-dry tongue, and a definite fondness for wine merchants. . ."

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    No lowered emissions = no sex.... would definitely work on me

    It's like the Kyoto bedroom protocol
    In all seriousness, this will not work. For smaller things, this works just fine on us. For things like this, that ultimatum would make many men go find sex elsewhere (i.e. breaking up with you and finding a better girl).
    ~If you are ever being chased by a Nascar fan, turn right...

  9. #9
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnhoJ View Post
    On one hand, vintage Britmobiles do have a reputation for not burning gasoline during a significant portion of their lives... They're perfect for someone who really likes working on cars as a hobby and has alternative methods of transportation.
    Now, even though some of my relatives spent their lives making automobiles (for Morris, if I remember correctly), I would have to say that this is true.

    So, I would, in fact, encourage your boyfriend to purchase a fine vintage British made vehicle, because it will spend a good portion of it's time being repaired, and therefore, not be emitting anything .

    Welcome to Bike Forums, by the way!

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  10. #10
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    No lowered emissions = no sex.... would definitely work on me

    It's like the Kyoto bedroom protocol
    Don't withhold sex- reward him with it. Once for every mile per gallon per month ought to do it.

    The VW Jetta diesel gets 45mpg.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  11. #11
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
    Don't withhold sex- reward him with it. Once for every mile per gallon per month ought to do it.

    The VW Jetta diesel gets 45mpg.
    But he might run out of gas... .

    East Hill
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  12. #12
    Senior Member jcwitte's Avatar
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    This link lists the most efficient cars and also lets you search by make, model, class, year, etc...

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bestworst.shtml

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the suggestions!


    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    No lowered emissions = no sex.... would definitely work on me

    It's like the Kyoto bedroom protocol
    What, and punish myself for his crime?


    Quote Originally Posted by KnhoJ View Post
    ... modern catalytic convertors are cheap and quite unrestrictive...
    Do you know if popping in a catalytic converter would take an old car all the way up to modern standards--or just most of the way?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    No lowered emissions = no sex.... would definitely work on me

    It's like the Kyoto bedroom protocol

    If I were to receive an ultimatum such as this you would soon find me with a new girlfriend and a new car.


    I would recommend the carrot approach rather than the stick approach, something along the line of foregoing a Hummer for a hummer. The hummer would need to be administered periodically to be effective

  15. #15
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stacia View Post




    Do you know if popping in a catalytic converter would take an old car all the way up to modern standards--or just most of the way?
    Be very careful with this, most pre-cat con cars are not designed to have an extremely hot catalytic converter under the floor.
    Not too much to say here

  16. #16
    Senior Member Kimmitt's Avatar
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    Yeah, this isn't the place for that, but I'm certain that discussion groups surrounding the car he likes would have information regarding effective retrofits. Even if he's not getting all the way up to modern standards, the low mileage and such will probably make up for it. That seems like an effective compromise.

  17. #17
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stacia View Post

    Do you know if popping in a catalytic converter would take an old car all the way up to modern standards--or just most of the way?
    Depends on a lot of a factors. Better do some additional research. Cats are expensive and on the older cars (depending on how old) oil consumption may be a reality and will plug up a cat in a hurry. I also second the fact that many British cars will spend more time being worked on than being driven...been there done that. Also the old Mini's can be made to Rock and Roll. Run a search string with Austin Mini and John Cooper and see what comes up

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by East Hill View Post
    But he might run out of gas... .

    East Hill
    I don't get it...

  19. #19
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    If the Jetta gets 45 mpg, and he has sex each month as many times as the Jetta gets in mpg...

    let's just say that I think Mr. East Hill would be fairly exhausted after a few months of that .

    East Hill
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  20. #20
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    Oh, right. I am thick.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by stacia View Post
    Hi! This is actually my first post to these forums. I'm working on going carfree--my car is, I admit, still sitting in my parents' garage at the moment, but it IS listed on craigslist, and I haven't driven since October or driven regularly since August. It's going great for me! I have a pretty little bike and just got a set of panniers and an awesome rainjacket for Christmas!

    My boyfriend, though, is very much not carfree--and you gotta pick your battles. However, the engine in his car just bit the dust, and rather than fixing it, it's probable that he will sell the whole car for whatever he can get and buy a new one. He wants a vintage Mini or British roadster or something, and while they are totally adorable and get okay or good gas mileage and all that, my understanding is that they have pretty bad emissions (and cars more than 30 years old don't have to pass emissions tests). I'm having trouble convincing him to care. Basically, two things matter to him in a car: 1. cute factor and 2. speed/vroom factor (I did point out to him that those old Minis aren't so much vroom vroom cars...)

    So, I'm looking for some simple, unignorable stuff to tell or show him that might convince him that emissions (or lack thereof) really are important AND/OR that individuals can make a difference with individual choices and actions (not just regarding vehicle emissions). Nothing too heavy-handed that will just make him defensive. Humor definitely welcome! (And if you guys know where I could find actual emissions data for vintage cars, that would be awesome.)

    Thanks! You guys are an inspiration. And happy holidays!

    just let him get the car he wants and worry about the things you do . you can make sugestions but leave controlling people to the politicians

  22. #22
    Mister Goody Two Shoes KnhoJ's Avatar
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    The generic catalytic convertors generally run around $60-90, depending on where you get it. They are heat shielded, and a decent exhaust shop won't have any trouble finding a place for it in the car that won't melt the carpet. Mostly what one of these would do is eat up the leftover hydrocarbons. It won't be quite as good as what you'd get from a new car, but it'll be a whole lot better! Wahoonc is right about the oil; if the car's leaving a trail of oil smoke, that'll plug up the convertor. Or if the fuel or ignition system is in really bad shape, huge amounts of unburnt hydrocarbons can burn out a convertor quickly. But as long as it's running halfway decently, it'll be fine. It's not unusual anymore to find convertors under all kinds of vintage cars that never came with them. A lot of collectors don't rate the stinky exhaust as "charming" anymore, and sometimes that's just what it takes to convince the wife to go for a ride in "that stinky old thing".

  23. #23
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    Don't try too hard to convince him; he probably knows all the arguments already. Just let him know you feel really strongly about it and let him do what he will. If he still goes ahead and gets his stinkmobile, then he obviously doesn't care what you think and/or is not willing to sacrifice for your happiness. (But don't tell him this last part beforehand, you'll be accused of being passive/aggressive, etc.)

  24. #24
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Bikesalot View Post
    If he still goes ahead and gets his stinkmobile, then he obviously doesn't care what you think and/or is not willing to sacrifice for your happiness.
    Actually, if he's looking at a British import, he's already considering your concerns. These are small and light cars which are good on gas. If he only wanted an attractive car with a lot of horsepower and speed, he might consider a 1960s vintage American muscle car, which would have considerably worse fuel economy and by extension would produce more pollution as well. If he adds the catalytic converter, it will be much better.
    Life is good.

  25. #25
    Senior Member acroy's Avatar
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    I think go ahead & get a small, old, used British car. It will emit almost no emissions, because it will almost never run.
    beer-bottle target

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