A green driving machine can be huge cost-cutter

Lure of electric or hybrid cars stronger than ever – City drivers fed up of fuel prices can save thousands

Families are now spending more money on petrol than the weekly food shop. The AA reported this week that pump prices hit a record high of 142.48p a litre for petrol, while diesel hovers around a peak of 147.88p a litre.

The figures mean filling up a 50-litre family car now costs around £71.24, the AA said. That tops the average weekly food bill of £70.10. Meanwhile families with two cars have to stump up £22 more to fill them both up than they did at the beginning of the year.

With petrol costs soaring, the search for ways to cut motoring costs is becoming crucial. So there was heartening news in the Society of MotorManufacturers and Traders annual New Car CO2 report published this week.

The statistics revealed that new cars are more fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly than ever before. But crucially for the cost-conscious, that means that they are also more cost-effective than older vehicles.

The Society's survey revealed that new vehicles are actually 18 per cent more fuel-efficient than the average car being run in Britain today. And that means major fuel savings can be made.

The report also confirmed the green credentials of new motors over older vehicles, which is crucial to the planet's long-term well-being. It showed that the average carbon dioxide emissions of cars registered last year were 23 per cent lower than in 2000.

Interestingly, diesel-fuelled vehicles now account for more than half of all new cars registered in the UK. But while the cheapest wheels to run – electric cars – achieved record market share in the UK last year, at 1.3 per cent of the market, it's still a negligible amount.

The reduction in running costs of an electric car are astounding. An SMMT report on electric cars published in the autumn, calculated that the average cost of fuel for a medium-sized diesel car travelling 30,000 miles in three years would total £3,374. The cost of electricity for a similarly-sized electric car covering the same distance over the same time period? Just £881.

Free or subsidised parking also increases the savings made by driving an electric car, while Londoners would benefit from not having to pay the Capital's Congestion Charge, which could amount to a saving of £2,278 a year.

There are other financial inducements such as the 25 per cent subsidy towards the cost of an eligible electric car, up to a value of £5,000, through the Plug-In Car Grant. But, of course, there remain several drawbacks to electric vehicles.

Not least is the problem of having to charge up the car and the fact that the charge will only last up to a certain number of miles, up to 100, depending on the vehicle. It limits their practical use for many motorists.

The Government-backed Plugged-In Places scheme will see around 9,000 charge points in place across the country by March next year. That network will increase the prospects of being able to travel greater distances in an electric car.

But that doesn't get over the problem of battery charging time. Typically, electric cars take between six and eight hours to charge fully. However some electric vehicles can use rapid charge points, where they can be charged in half an hour.

But rather than the cheap-to-run pure electric cars, hybrids are more likely to make an impact for drivers in the short term. Plug-in hybrids revert to using diesel when the battery range is reached. But with the range topping 10 miles, they can be perfect for environmentally and cash-conscious City drivers.

In fact the average individual journey length in the UK is currently 8.6 miles, well within the range of a plug-in hybrid.

With electric cars and hybrids currently more expensive than traditional petrol or diesel vehicles, the initial cost of buying a greener vehicle can also put people off. But with the cars using expensive lithium batteries which typically account for 25 per cent of the cost of a vehicle, there has been little that motor manufacturers can do to cut prices.

But there was positive news this week in the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Report. It revealed that battery prices fell 14 per cent in the first three months of this year. Further price falls, and the greenest and cheapest-to-run cars may yet prove a good buy.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
Sport
Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse come together
football
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The beat is on: Alfred Doda, Gjevat Kelmendi and Orli Shuka in ‘Hyena’
filmReview: Hyena takes corruption and sleaziness to a truly epic level
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

    Guru Careers: Executive Assistant / PA

    £30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...

    Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

    Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life