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; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Germany sees 'visible rise' in support for far-right extremism in response to perceived 'Islamisation' of the West
iJobs Money & Business
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...
£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens