One of the major costs involved in running a car is the fuel it uses. The good news is that an economical car will save you money in this area – a car that returns 50mpg will slash your fuel bills by half compared to a car that returns 25mpg.
But surely a car that is twice as economical has a price premium? In some cases yes – a hybrid might be around £3,000 more than a petrol-engined equivalent. And a hybrid may have impressive official economy figures, but may not deliver such high miles per gallon in real life.
Diesel cars are more expensive than petrol cars, but they do deliver better real-life miles per gallon – especially compared to downsized petrol engines. There’s currently a big debate in the media about whether diesel cars should be banned, because of concerns about air quality. There is a lot of rubbish being talked about in this context! Yes, air quality levels are appalling in, for example, some areas of London, and yes, diesel vehicles are largely responsible – but it’s old buses, taxis and commercial vehicles that are the problem rather than new diesel cars, which have filters that capture around 99.9% of diesel particulates.
Of course, electric vehicles are the ideal solution to air quality problems in urban areas, however they’re expensive in relation to the driving range that they offer. Plug-in hybrids offer the opportunity of driving on electric power in urban areas, then on petrol or diesel out of town. However this technology is also expensive.
We would recommend taking a look at our Green Car Guide, which lists the most economical cars in class – whether they are petrol, diesel, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, extended-range electric vehicles, or pure EVs – and compare the fuel economy figures and the price to see what’s right for you and your driving.
Also take a look at the infographic below to see all of the associated costs with buying a car. One bit of good news is that it’s becoming easier to buy a car due to finance deals and car loans that are available.