Advancements in green car technology over the last ten years have meant that there are now plenty of eco-friendly cars on the market. Where once green cars were a poor substitute for their gas-guzzling counterparts, not practical for everyday use, they are now becoming a viable alternative to vehicles fuelled in more traditional ways. From the Volkswagen Polo Blue motion to the Ford Focus ECOnetic, major car manufacturers are investing in green technology, and there is now plenty of choice for the discerning consumer who is concerned about their impact on the environment.
One alternative to the traditional engine is a hybrid, which combines petrol and electric engines for greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions; by harnessing the power of both, a hybrid engine is able to overcome the shortcomings associated with both petrol and electric engines to create a more efficient engine which is also practical for driving longer distances. Other alternatives include cars run by hydrogen and bio-fuels, which reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and put out less harmful emissions than petrol or diesel engines.
Another important focus of green technology lies within finding ways to make cars more efficient overall, by making small changes to the engines and bodies of vehicles, as well as introducing new forms of fuel. For example, auto stop-start automatically switches off the engine when the vehicle is stationary, and restarts as soon as the driver presses the clutch, preserving fuel and reducing emissions. Regenerative braking is also being introduced to new vehicles; regenerative braking recaptures the car's kinetic energy and converts it to electricity to recharge the car's batteries, rather than allowing it to go to waste. Green cars also tend to be smaller and lighter than other vehicles, meaning that less energy is needed to drive them.
Increased efficiency and green technology doesn't just benefit the environment, or your conscience, however; driving an eco-friendly vehicle also has great benefits for your wallet as well. The increase in fuel costs over the past few years has been staggering, and it doesn't appear to be slowing any time soon. Our dependence on foreign oil imports, and the increasing demand for fuel from developing nations, has caused price increases on this precious commodity, and the laws of supply-and-demand dictate that this trend will only continue as we deplete the world's reserves of fossil fuels.
Green cars which are more fuel-efficient, however, require less petrol on average for the same journeys and therefore can cut costs. In a hybrid car, where the electric motor powers the car half the time, the petrol engine is used less often and therefore uses less fuel during a journey. Cars which also feature technology such as auto stop-start or regenerative braking, or which are just lighter and therefore easier to power than a larger, heavier vehicle, also provide more miles to the gallon - making fuel go that little bit further. Increased fuel efficiency also means that you have more time to search for a good deal on fuel prices, rather than being forced to fill up at the nearest station. The use of electricity rather than petrol can help make significant savings over a long period of time, and as eco-friendly fuel alternatives such as hydrogen and bio-fuels are developed and become more readily available, they will cut our reliance on imported petrol and will become the cheaper choice at the pump.
It is not just the reduction in fuel costs that can help save you money; the everyday running costs of an eco-friendly car can also make a green car the sensible choice for your wallet. Car insurance companies like Endsleigh.co.uk car insurance are beginning to offer incentives to drivers of eco-friendly vehicles, making your car insurance premiums lower if you invest in an eco-friendly car. Green cars are often cheaper to insure because of a company's own commitments to reducing carbon emissions, leading them to incentivise drivers with cheaper insurance to encourage more people to go green. Not only that, but drivers of green cars are also thought to be more conscientious and are therefore likely to attract lower premiums. Not only that, but cars which emit 100g/km or less of carbon dioxide are exempt from both road tax and the London Congestion Charge, meaning that significant savings can be made from owning an eco-friendly car.
Being environmentally friendly doesn't have to be expensive or difficult; where once, green cars were the reserve of a few celebrities with Toyota Priuses, now they are accessible to everyone, no matter what they use their car for. The initial outlay may be more expensive, but the savings which can be made on an eco-friendly car over the years are enough to save your wallet, as well as the planet.
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