In the UK, most of the CO2 caused by individuals comes from driving cars, so it makes sense to invest in an environmentally friendly car and do your bit for the planet. There are several factors to consider when it comes to choosing a green car; the guide below will take you through the steps.
From nought to carbon emissions
Before you even drive your car, it has a carbon footprint. By opting for a smaller, lighter car you can reduce that initial carbon footprint and earn yourself some environmental kudos.
Check out the Euro number
In the UK, all new cars have to meet ‘Euro’ standards. These standards set limits for emissions that can harm health and have a detrimental effect on the environment. As a rule of thumb, the higher the Euro number, the cleaner the car. If you’re looking now, then all new cars have to meet Euro 5 standards, which will reduce diesel cars’ particulate emissions to similar levels to petrol vehicles. As of September 2015, this will be bumped up to Euro 6, ensuring all new cars are even cleaner than that. Check the car fuel database for the Euro standards of different cars.
Less of the fuel
A reduction in fossil fuel consumptions = less greenhouse gas. That makes sense, so when it comes to reducing the impact our cars have on the environment, we should start by reducing out consumption of fuel. There are two aspects of any car which will contribute towards fuel consumption: Engine efficiency and weight.
Weight: This has a direct impact on the amount of fuel required to get anywhere. Generally speaking, the lighter the car, the less demanding of fuel it is.
Engine Efficiency: This comes down to the fuel used (we’ll get to that later) but it can be helped by a few technical advances. Look out for cylinder shutoff, direct injection, variable valve timing and so on. You could also consider a hybrid, for example the new Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, which is the first car ever to have a diesel engine in an electric hybrid car
Petrol vs. Diesel
Understanding the difference between petrol and diesel can help you make the right decision for your lifestyle.
Petrol: A petrol engine is generally considered less fuel efficient than diesel engines, and also produces more CO2.
Diesel: Diesel engines omit a lot of air pollutants, which can have a negative impact on the quality of air and in towns and cities especially this can be quite damaging to health. That said, some new diesel cars come fitted with a diesel particulate filter, which goes someway in reducing the pollutants. If the car you’re after doesn’t have one fitted already you could ask your local garage about having one installed. When opting for a diesel car, make sure you look at the Euro standards, a car that meets the more demanding standards of Euro 5 or 6 will be best for the environment.
So if you live and drive in town where air quality is a big consideration you may want to opt for a petrol engine. However if you often drive long distances then a diesel engine would be better for both fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions.