Are low-emission cars worth the cost?

Do the environmental benefits of low-emission cars warrant the cost?

Companies like Honda have tackled the problem of climate change head on with the development of new low emission cars

This range of hybrid vehicles not only produces a smaller carbon footprint than their petrol or diesel engine rivals, they are markedly cheaper to run on a day-to-day basis too.

This is chiefly because they use less petrol, qualify for the lower (or in some cases, zero) rate of road tax and are exempt from paying the Congestion Charge.

Despite the many benefits of hybrid vehicles, one of the most frequent criticisms of them is that the cost of purchasing a vehicle outweighs the benefits that it provides.

In this article, we will examine if this claim is a spurious one, or if it has some credence.

To examine this in a little more detail, let’s compare some of the new car offers that are currently available for hybrid vehicles and what kind of financial and environmental benefits you will be getting for your money.

The new family-sized Honda Insight hybrid, for example, is available for an on-the-road price of £16,995. So what is it that makes buying the Insight preferable to similarly priced or cheaper non-hybrid vehicles?

The first thing to note is that the slightly higher initial price is soon offset by markedly lower running costs.

If you are driving a mid-range family vehicle that achieves 30 miles per gallon and costs around £190 a year in road tax, upon which you spend around £300 a month on petrol, then a hybrid vehicle like the Insight will offer an immediate and impressive cost saving.

Given that the Insight achieves 64.2 miles per gallon and qualifies for band B (£0 for the first year, £20 per year after) of UK road tax, you would immediately halve your petrol costs (Saving around £1,800 a year) and save a further £170 on your road tax each year.

Furthermore, if you live, work or travel regularly in central London, then there are even more savings to be had as the Insight is exempt from the Congestion Charge, which is currently £8 per day for a standard vehicle.

Expanded out over the course of a five-year term, that means opting for a hybrid that costs slightly more now, will save you nearly £10,000 over five years, or considerably more than that if you work, travel through or live in central London.

The reduction in cost of owning and running a vehicle is not just a financial consideration, but an environmental one too.

If people have chosen a hybrid because it is greener and cheaper, the money they save can then be ploughed into reducing their carbon footprint in their home and the like, thus helping the environment still further.

Many motorists are now well aware of the damage petrol and diesel engines are having upon the environment.

They contribute a great deal to our carbon footprint and as a result, are a major factor in global warming as well as having several other debilitating effects on the local environment. Opting to buy a hybrid vehicle instead helps the environment in many ways.

Much less CO2 is emitted: this reduces your carbon footprint and helps combat global warming.

Less petrol is burned: this reduces the demand for petrol (which is already starting to outstrip supply) and lessens oil consumption.

Far fewer harmful fumes are emitted: this greatly benefits the local environment; plants, wildlife and air quality.

Reduced toxins in the air from vehicles equates to better health for everybody and fewer hazy, smog-filled days.

Financially, buying a hybrid vehicle makes sense, but it is a wise choice when considering greener implications too.

Fewer toxins, less petrol consumption and lower CO2 emissions mean buying a hybrid is great for both your wallet and the environment.