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Why Get a Car With a Low Carbon Footprint?

By: Kathryn Senior PhD - Updated: 12 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
New Car Environmentally Friendly Climate

If you are thinking of buying a new car, rather than a second hand one, there are many factors that will contribute to your decision. You may want the car just for image, mainly for practicality, the cheapest you can get, or the most efficient to run and the most environmentally friendly. Juggling these different requirements can be difficult – you have to compromise on something. With climate change and environmental problems constantly in most people’s minds, it may be worth considering the benefits of having a car that produces low levels of emissions. There are other benefits as well as doing your bit for the environment.

Low Carbon Emission Cars are Cheaper to Buy

Just a quick glance at the league table for new cars based on their carbon emissions tells you immediately that this is true. The small Smart Fortwo Cabrio Pulse, Cabrio Passion and Pulse get the three top places. These cars produce only 86 grams of carbon dioxide for every one kilometre they are driven. With an 800cc engine and only room for two people, they aren’t the most practical but if you are a single or a young couple, the price tag of around £11 000 is quite attractive.

For the family, there are two options that fall into the top 5 at the moment – the Skoda Fabia Estate Greenline II and the Toyota Auris T4 HSD. Both are 5 door family cars – the Skoda has a vast boot as it’s an estate car – so plenty of room for a young or growing family. The Skoda has a 1.2 litre engine, the Toyota a 1.8 litre, but both produce only 89g of carbon dioxide for every kilometre driven. At just under £14 000, the Skoda is great value for money, while the Toyota is still not too bad at just under £19 000.

At the lower end of the table, the Ferraris and Bentleys listed all cost around £200 000 – and produce over 400 grams of carbon dioxide for every kilometre travelled, albeit in rather more style.

Low Carbon Emission Cars are Cheaper to Run

Smaller cars and more efficient cars generally produce the lowest level of carbon emissions and also use fuel more efficiently, so they are cheaper to run. Until a couple of years ago, people opted for diesel cars because diesel was a considerably much cheaper fuel but price increases have now put diesel on a par with petrol, sometimes a bit ahead. A more environmentally friendly car may cost less money to run – but that also depends on how well you maintain it and how your driving technique is. You can get more out of your car by driving well, keeping your speed steady, rather than lots of accelerating and braking, and by keeping unnecessary loads out of the car.

Cheaper Insurance and Tax on Small Cars

The emission rating of a car and its fuel consumption, as well as its engine size also put a car into different bands for tax and insurance. If you can find a small low emission car that is in group 1 for insurance, and in the lowest tax band, your road tax will be free, and your insurance will be a fraction of what it could be on a larger car.

Choice and Image

In the end, the choice of a new car comes down to personal preference, but it seems to make sense in a time of recession to choose a car that will be a smaller drain on financial resources. A Smart Fortwo or a Skoda may not suit everyone, but perhaps it is time for cost and environmental impact to feature more high up on this list. Is a car with a great image really worth the cost?

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