Why is it that Modern Life is so Rubbish?

Why is it that Modern Life is so Rubbish?

You do wonder why things are so hard for people. Probably because everything is designed as a consumable or disposable item. Mobile Phones, TV’s, computers, cars; in fact, every piece of modern equipment is designed for a short usable life. Mobile phones and computers become obsolete within a few years, the software being so ‘advanced and hi-tech,’ features that would normally go on working are prevented from doing so by ‘built in obsolescence’ style operating systems. Every big company is working towards this end, only catering for the latest systems to work on, commonly disregarding completely older software and hardware at best as ‘not worth the time, cost and effort,’ at worst deliberately designing and developing it so that older systems and software will fail, forcing the customer to buy the new stuff. It’s pretty aware that there is a mix of these two types of motive operating.

With cars, manufacturers no longer produce the parts that commonly fail, relying on third parties to provide the missing support, but originally produced, often with tolerances and specifications so severe and outlandish, that even a trivial part that really should be a warning at best, superficial at worst, will stop the car running completely, a third-party part being unable to bridge the gap because of this built in ‘perfectionist’ requirement. The original parts, because of their extraordinary and over the top software limits cost maybe 10 times what the part should cost, so a £30 sensor that does next to nothing will cost £300 from the original manufacturer. Without it the car is ‘claimed’ not to work properly, the designed built in software being the culprit for stopping it running, usually because of ‘preventing damage to the engine,’ exaggerating the risk to the point of obsession where in fact it may just alter the fuel consumption by a few miles per gallon, old vehicles never having this sensor working perfectly well for their lifetime.

So, we have all the built-in methods for designed premature failure. What happens? We need to buy a new mobile phone, laptop, car, TV, or virtually any other discardable piece of hi-tech equipment, not realising that everything connected to it will soon do the same in a systemic type failure.

But what of pollution?

The latest Euro 4, 5 & 6 car standards are such a flawed affair. They set theoretical standards that cars should keep to, but are based on scientifically flawed theoretical thinking. The testing for emissions that go on for things like car tests, the UK’s MOT, are based on theory, not actuality, so manufacturers such as VW worked towards these ‘examination certificates for proof,’ with no attempt at any real life checking. Many people have certificates and are employed ‘out of expertise,’ so in most cases a lot of the certificates, because they are based on outdated knowledge, shouldn’t be employed in the area they are ‘qualified’ in. Knowledge and skills in a fast-moving world need to be constantly kept up to date otherwise they are obsolete and worthless and one countries knowledge does ‘not fit all.’ Sadly, the idea ‘once a doctor, always a doctor applies in society, even after 30 years not in the business, or even connected with it. In Information Technology the task is even worse, being just a year or two out of date requiring a fair amount of learning, and you’re not dealing with people’s lives being at stake.

In real life, rather than in the theoretical fiction one, it comes down to ‘how much energy is needed to build, run and dispose of a vehicle?’ Modern vehicles requiring so much more than in the past, so are more polluting, whatever the fiction politicians put out and legislate.

With combustion cars, it’s how much pollution is produced when they are manufactured and delivered to the customer, how long they last, what the type of fuel is and how many miles per gallon/person they produce, then how much it costs to recycle it. Modern cars seem to have a useful life of about 12 years now compared to 15 years in the past, so you need to multiply the new cars pollution by +25% for manufacture in comparisons. If it produces 25% less pollution in manufacture then it pollutes about the same for that part.

Emission recording is one of the most suspect areas. If a such a car works properly and efficiently then it must combust as much as possible of its fuel, so if it doesn’t do this properly it will produce more carbon monoxide. It must produce as much carbon dioxide as possible, otherwise the carbon component of fuels is not used or used inefficiently, hence ‘lower miles per gallon/passenger.’ End of story.

Generally, diesel engines are more expensive to produce than petrol engines and the fuel is a heavier hydrocarbon, so they pollute more than petrol gallon for gallon, but the counter is they normally do more miles/passenger per gallon, so effectively the produce about the same, although they do produce more particulates in the form of soot, especially if they aren’t burnt up. They tend to produce less CO2 than petrol cars, but they store this carbon then tend to burn it up into masses of pure CO2 in what are called regeneration cycles. There is no such thing as ‘just disposing of it or storing it,’ a car that just keeps hold of it probably weighing 7.5 tonnes more if it did than at the start of its life.

With cars its original cost, MPG/passenger, and mile totals that counts. Nothing else.

Rough estimates are that half a cars pollution is in its manufacture, so a car £30,000 in cost and distribution will probably pollute around twice a £15,000 car.

You can hide so many figures in production, but this is a good estimate from working out the figure from numerous vehicles of different types and it applies to bicycles, motorbikes, cars, vans, heavy good vehicles, buses, trains, aircraft and even rockets.

Then fuel. For CO2, even bicycling produces a CO2 production, usually though around twice a normal stationary human, so about an extra 30kg per year. The pollution of the bicycle being for a £1,000 bike 1/10th of a £10,000 car in its manufacture, bikes rarely being multi-user as tandems are rare.

A £10,000 car polluting around twice a £5,000 car in its manufacture component. Petrol produces about 2.3035kg of CO2 per litre of fuel with smaller amounts of other chemicals. Diesel produces about 2.6391kg of CO2 per litre of fuel.

An average in the UK is carrying 1.2 passengers at any one time and travelling around 9,000 miles a year. Litres to UK gallons are 0.22.

So, a typical average old car would produce about 2.6 tonnes of CO2 per year, a new one maybe 2 tonnes, but they vary from a large heavy new Euro 6 standard luxury car with a person with a heavy foot that may produce 18 tonnes a year of CO2 down to a small efficient 25 year old car that never had any real standards that could do maybe less than 1 tonne a year of CO2, so the figures are pretty much academic and not related to anything in real life. But many officials and so called ‘scientists’ in the area never visit the place.

Fuels are important, cycling using up personal energy, the more energetic the cycling the greater the energy required and CO2 produced, so it should be that there is a higher provision need for the energy required, maybe 4,000 calories compared to 2,500 for less active people, but many people over-eat anyway, using up way more in the form of energy provision that they need, also requiring more to transport them. So a

So, cars, what of them?

Modern petrol cars average maybe 50mpg, older cars maybe 40mpg. A car that does 25mpg pollutes twice as much as one that does 50mpg on the same fuel. If 2 people generally use a car then you could divide it by 2 per person, but the total pollution would be the same. A diesel car does around 60mpg, but is about 15% more polluting per gallon because of the form of combustion, so on average does maybe 5% better at most, but upkeep and maintenance means most are very similar.

Electric cars cost on average 50% more than petrol or diesel cars to produce, so the initial manufacturing pollution component is +50%. People talk about manufacturing in terms of economies of scale, but they have kicked in almost fully and are active, similar to the cost of wind turbines, so figures are now unlikely to come down because of it.

Below are a few calculations based on real life figures and actual found equivalences:

Vehicle by TypeAverage values in old car standards for a standard operational driving style
YearlyYearlyTotal PollutionOld Car
Type of VehicleManuf.Useful lifeFuel per yearNumber of UsersAverage MileageMaint.Kg/Person CO2Equivalent
Old Bicycle0.0230.011200035519.5%
New Bicycle0.150.011500041022.5%
Old Petrol Car1151.001.2100000.051820100.0%
Old Diesel Car1.1201.151.2100000.072794153.5%
New Petrol Car1.2120.901.290000.04150282.5%
New Diesel Car1.2151.001.290000.062067113.6%
Hybrid Car1.4120.701.290000.08127470.0%
Electric Car1.6120.301.270000.0584546.4%
Bus Diesel10253.33101000000.11337.3%
Train Diesel1003020.005010000000.1201.1%
Train Electric100306.675010000000.190.5%
Short Haul Jet15015200.001501750000.421812.0%
Long Haul Jet20020133.332502500000.4834.6%
Rocket NEO20000.021000.0022000065650036071.4%
Rocket Moon, etc50000.042000.00350000004403241.9%
Old car equivalent
Type of VehicleVery Bad DrivingBad DrivingAverage DrivingGood Driving
Old Bicycle29.26%29.26%19.5%17.55%
New Bicycle33.79%33.79%22.5%20.27%
Old Petrol Car300.00%200.00%100.0%80.00%
Old Diesel Car460.48%306.99%153.5%122.80%
New Petrol Car247.62%165.08%82.5%66.03%
New Diesel Car340.71%227.14%113.6%90.86%
Hybrid Car210.00%140.00%70.0%56.00%
Electric Car139.29%92.86%46.4%37.14%
Bus Diesel14.67%11.00%7.3%5.87%
Train Diesel2.20%1.21%1.1%0.99%
Train Electric0.94%0.52%0.5%0.42%
Short Haul Jet24.00%13.20%12.0%10.80%
Long Haul Jet9.17%5.05%4.6%4.13%
Rocket NEO36071.43%36071.43%36071.4%36071.43%
Rocket Moon, etc241.90%241.90%241.9%241.90%
Looking at model types compared to old Petrol Equivalent
Cars by typeAverageBestWorst
Old Petrol100.0%70.0%300.00%
Old Diesel153.5%122.8%306.99%
New Petrol82.5%66.0%267.43%
New Diesel113.6%79.5%160.14%
Combined Driver and CarBest CarWorst Car
Type of VehicleVery Bad DrivingBad DrivingAverage DrivingGood DrivingVery Bad DrivingBad DrivingAverage DrivingGood Driving
Old Petrol Car210.0%140.0%70.00%56.000%900.00%600.00%300.00%240.0%
Old Diesel Car565.5%377.0%122.80%150.787%1413.63%942.42%306.99%377.0%
New Petrol Car163.5%109.0%66.03%43.602%662.20%441.47%267.43%176.6%
New Diesel Car270.9%180.6%79.50%72.231%545.61%363.74%160.14%145.5%
Hybrid Car132.3%88.2%63.00%35.280%294.00%196.00%140.00%78.4%
Electric Car58.2%38.8%41.79%15.520%258.67%172.45%185.71%69.0%

These are percentage pollution levels compared to running old cars in the past.

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