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05 May 2022, 14:20

Petrol vs diesel vs hybrid cars - what are the environmental impacts?

Petrol vs diesel vs hybrid cars - what are the environmental impacts?

While we"re swimming in new environmental regulations, information, restrictions and statistics, it can be difficult to know the best way to be a driver and protect the environment at the same time.

Our handy guide will help to clear up some of the confusion, so you won"t get left behind, stuck in a jam, or let the mind-boggling array of facts, figures and mixed messages drive you ‘round the bend.

Check it out and you"ll be on the road to greener motoring faster than you can say Ultra Low Emission Zone.

The coming petrol and diesel car ban

Petrol cars are currently being highlighted as the most damaging to the environment, as they release a high number of polluting emissions. The majority of these emissions (mainly from exhaust fumes) come from the tailpipe of traditional petrol and diesel cars and rise up into the atmosphere.

Once they escape, these toxic gases (mainly carbon - or C02) create an invisible layer of insulation in the environment, which prevents heat from leaving the planet. This is how they contribute to global warming.

When will petrol and diesel cars be banned?

Because of their impact on global warming, the government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030.

Are diesel cars greener than petrol cars?

Many people believe that diesel engines are slightly less harmful to the environment than those that burn petrol. However, diesel fuel actually contains slightly more carbon than petrol.

The difference is that diesel engines tend to use more air and less fuel to get the same performance result as a petrol engine.

So, carbon emissions from Diesel cars are generally lower than those from petrol-burning cars.

What is a hybrid car?

A hybrid car is powered by a conventional petrol or diesel burning engine and an electrical power source at the same time.

A few things to consider:

  • Because hybrid cars (also known as electric hybrid cars) use petrol or diesel fuel, the government and various environmental groups are currently casting a suspicious eye on them.
  • One of the major problems with hybrids is that owners don"t always charge the electric motor in their vehicles, and because of this they end up driving them pretty much as petrol or diesel cars.
  • Once they hit the road, studies have shown that some hybrids emit 2.5 times more C02 than they do at the official testing stage. The BBC recently described hybrid cars as a "wolf in sheep"s clothing"!
  • The government is also considering a ban on the sale of new hybrid cars at some point between 2035 and 2040.

One of the biggest problems with hybrid cars is the way drivers use them. If you charge your car regularly and take shorter journeys, it will run on electricity and produce fewer carbon emissions.

Hybrid vs electric cars

If you want to reduce your C02 emissions, use your hybrid car as an electric car as much as possible. They can still be an environmentally-friendly option if used responsibly.

However, the government wants to see all new cars and vans with zero emissions at the tailpipe by 2035.

  • Purely electric cars have no engine or exhaust pipe and therefore have zero carbon emissions.

What does fuel efficient driving achieve?

You may want to have a re-think about your old faithful gas-guzzler, sooner rather than later. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to increase its fuel efficiency and reduce those pesky emissions.

  • Check your tyres regularly - Reduced tyre pressure increases both carbon emissions and fuel consumption
  • Don"t leave your car idling - Many people believe it"s better to keep the engine running than to stop and re-start. If your car is idling for more than 10 seconds, you"ll actually waste more fuel than you would with a re-start
  • Cut down on air conditioning, but remember to use it once or twice a week to keep the system functioning effectively
  • Cut down on driving - Avoid unnecessary trips and add in some extra walks if your trip is only a short one

Fuel efficient petrol and diesel cars burn less C02 and can also save you money in the long-run.

We recommend doing some research before buying your next car but, one way or another, you might want to consider getting ahead of the curve with those tailpipe issues!


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