VSCC Carbon Emissions Calculators

As a service to Members, the Club has developed two calculators that give an estimation of CO2 emissions and the cost of their recovery. These are for guidance and information purposes only. They are not to be treated as quotes. The first calculator is downloadable as a table of On Road Emissions. This is derived from the original events emissions calculator developed to recover VSCC competition emissions. It provides the estimated costs of recovering the on-road emissions of cars, according to average touring mpg and annual mileages covered. These can be recovered simply, by visiting http://trees.fbhvc.co.uk

The second calculator is downloadable as a table of Car Build Emissions. This estimates the emissions created that are inherent in the car itself, and from this the costs of recovering them, by using the published weight of the vehicle from e.g. The Motor tests of the cars in period.  Of course, these weights often included two people and, in any case, our cars are not entirely made of metal: There is often a fair bit of wood in our old cars, however the actual weight of wood makes up such as small proportion of the vehicle’s overall weight, and because its use is roughly 13 times ‘greener’ than using metal (source: clear.eco), it is not worth the extra complexity of taking this into account. For example, we have calculated that it makes less than a 2% difference in the case of a Bentley 3 litre, or about 5% in the case of a Riley saloon. Furthermore, using the published weight serves as a sensible proxy for the total metal in the car, because the cars will have had parts added to them in repairs over their lifetime. It also recognises that servicing the cars also causes emissions; a separate service emissions calculated is under development. In any case, it is always best to attempt to over-estimate the emissions than underestimate them.

The Car Build Emissions calculator takes as its base figure the tonnes of CO2 emitted for one tonne of metal manufactured, published by clear.eco: https://clear.eco/carbon-offset-raw-materials-manufacturing/. We have relied on clear.eco’s data, and also recommend them for Members who may have other offsetting requirements. They are very highly regarded in the offsetting industry for the accuracy of their information and for the service they provide as a QAS-certified and B.Corp accredited business. Their clients include the English Football Association, Virgin Orbit and Octopus Energy. The calculator takes into account a 25% swarf loss in the machining of parts from base metal. It provides a simple 1:1 recovery cost, that is 1 tonne of CO2 recovered for 1 tonne emitted. It also provides the more complete 4:1 recovery cost. That is, balanced for both accredited long-term capture through tree planting and peatland restoration, as well as accredited immediate international offsetting, amounting to 4 tonnes recovered for every 1 tonne emitted.

The Car Build Emissions table lists some of the cars in the Club from the Library’s digitised collection of road tests, as well as some exotica for interest. This is an ongoing project and there are some notable omissions at present; more cars will be added in due course. Different ways of presenting car weight were used in period. Unless stated otherwise, the weight is usually from the road test figure in – or best rounded to – hundredweight. We would be most grateful if Members would like to add other cars to the table and/or suggest corrections. Please do contact us via library@vscc.co.uk with the subject header Car Calculator Suggestion and include the car, the year, the weight and the source of the information.

Even if not listed, it will be very easy for Members to use the table’s methods and constants to work out the carbon footprint and cost of recovery of their own cars. The same is true of parts by their weight; an example is given for interest. If we consider the estimated one-off cost of recovering the car-build emissions as a percentage of the value of the cars, it does not seem too great. For example, at current prices, to recover the carbon footprint of a 1925 Bentley 3 litre Speed at 1:1 would cost less than £185, and at 4:1 less than £740.

The Club has taken responsibility for the up-front recovery of emissions from the events we run for the three years 2022-2024 inclusive. Alongside this, the Club is also committed to trialling non-fossil fuels in 2023 and beyond. Nonetheless, we hope this new information will encourage Members to consider taking the next steps beyond events emissions, to recover On Road Emissions and Car Build Emissions of their cars. We recognise that taking responsibility for build emissions means the current owner paying in effect a sum that represents (something close to) the total carbon footprint of the car, that might more fairly be spread across all the years of the car’s existence – past and future. Nonetheless, they are important statements, and some quarters may even say necessary reparations. In whichever way they are viewed, however, it remains the case that the more we can sensibly and reasonably (with the support of appropriate data) contribute towards the UK becoming net zero by 2050, the better for everyone.

Both the On Road Emissions table and the Car Build Emissions table are provided for guidance only; again, they are not intended to serve as quotations. Members wishing to offset their on-road emissions only can always do so by visiting http://trees.fbhvc.co.uk. Those wishing to recover car build emissions can email library@vscc.co.uk with the subject header Carbon Footprint Recovery. Please include the following information – name, VSCC member number, car make and model, year and weight (if known), desired recovery ratio (e.g. 1:1 or 4:1, etc.) and – if wishing to offset on-road emissions as well – annual mileage and average mpg. This will then be checked and forwarded to Tree-V, who run the FBHVC scheme. They will then reply directly to the Member concerned with a quote. If Members provide chassis and engine numbers, Tree-V will provide Members with a certificate that the car's carbon footprint has been fully recovered, to remain with the car in perpetuity.

For all other Carbon Emissions Initiative inquiries please email library@vscc.co.uk with the subject header Carbon Emissions Initiative.