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What are the ‘green’ options when buying a new car?

Posted Friday, October 10, 2008

What are the ‘green’ options when buying a new car? Sustainable Youlgrave’s JOHN YOUATT shares his experiences.

It’s unlikely that fuel costs will fall in the foreseeable future, if ever. The market for large bodied, low mpg/high carbon emission cars has declined heavily recently. This is partly because of the cost of fuel, partly because of the changes to VED – your tax disc; and partly because of the economy at large.

I’ve been looking for a replacement first car (for bigger loads and longer journeys) for some months. At the same time, I’ve wondered whether Jean and I can justify a second car (for short journeys) - or share use or ownership with others, as the article suggests.

For a first car, I concluded that a reasonable compromise is a “band B” car. These are small to mid sized cars that emit less than 120 grams CO2 and no particulates; and achieve around 60 mpg. There are over 70 models listed on the VCA* website. Five of these (at least) are remarkable:

· for capacity, the Ford Focus Estate tdci 1.6;

· for quality and power, the Golf ‘blue motion’ 1.9 tdi;

· for easy loading (low cill/high headroom) yet smaller, the Ford Fusion tdci 1.6 and up market, a BMW 1 series e8 or a Merc A class..

Your tax disc will cost £35. Do we really need look anywhere else?

* http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk/search/vedSearchResults.asp?Band=B&Price=35&fuel=3&co2=101-120

For a second family or shared car, there’s a growing number of all-electric vehicles with 4 seats and enough range for local trips. I’m not in a position to recommend any, but you can look for yourself on websites such as www.nicecarcompany.co.uk. All-electric is zero carbon if charged with green electricity and low running costs.

The key to success is the best batteries – lithium-ion. I’m going to find out more.

Or if you want to see the real future, hydrogen from wind, go to -


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