A Guide to Buying an Eco Friendly Car

Honda Hybrid Electric Car

With rising charges on fuel, the promise of toll roads in the future, and increasing costs to insure your vehicle, it makes sense to try and save money wherever you can. Hence the rise of the eco friendly car. We should not be naïve enough to think that everyone who drives an eco car does so because of the impact to the environment, cost is also an important factor. For example, cars that emit less than 100 grams per kilometre (g/km) of CO2 are exempt from road tax, and some tax free cars are also exempt from the London Congestion Charge; those which emit 100g/KM or less of CO2 and meet the Euro 5 standard for air quality qualify for a 100% discount. If, by the way, you are in any doubt as to the amount of CO2 emissions of your car, you can check it on your V5C registration document. But any car registered as new with the DVLA on or after January 1, 2011 is deemed to meet the Euro 5 standard. Other savings include lower insurance policy deals on eco cars as insurers aim to encourage the purchasing of eco friendly cars. So with legislation that penalizes old and new gas guzzlers, but benefits those who drive a greener car, many people are thinking to make the switch. So what are the different types of eco car and which one is the best one for you? Here’s our guide to the main types of eco friendly car:

Hybrids

Probably the best known of eco cars, the hybrid uses a more fuel-efficient petrol engine as the main source of drive and this main power is supplemented by an electric engine. Generally speaking, the electric engine will be active up to speeds of 35mph, at which stage the petrol engine will take over and re-charge the batteries at the same time. Hybrid cars are no different to driving more traditional cars and even filling up one at the petrol station is not complicated. The most well known hybrid car is the Toyota Prius.

Lower emitters

Many cars will fall into this category and these cars can be available with a petrol or diesel engine. The way these cars work is that they use new technology to produce a cleaner combustion engine, which produce less CO2 emissions.

Electric vehicles

Electric vehicles have not always been that popular but with advances in modern technology they are becoming more so due to better performances and lower costs. There are cars now classed as ‘pure electrics’ that have battery-powered electric motors, and are charged using a mains power supply, either overnight, or in an hour on a fast charge mode. Electric cars now have a new benefit as the cost of all electric vehicles has been offset by a £5,000 grant offered by the government.

Alternative fuel

Liquefied petroleum gas occurs naturally and although it does still produce CO2 emissions, cars that use it emit a lot less than those with traditional engines. To convert your car to using LPG will cost you in the region of around £1,200-£1,500.

When choosing an eco friendly car, you should take into account the types of journeys you will be making, as you may favour diesel more than petrol, and also weigh up the time and organisation you will need if you are thinking about purchasing an electric car.

Photograph credits:  Energy-Green