What makes an economical car? From a financial point of view, most car owners look at fuel consumption.
However, it’s as much about suiting your car to your lifestyle as it is about miles to the gallon. Here we take a look at the way different engines will perform under different driving situations and environments.
The pros and cons of diesel
If you clock up a lot of miles, the mpg figures will make a diesel car a more attractive proposition. But do you cover enough miles each year to make the upfront cost of a diesel engine worthwhile?
As well as the cost of the car, the price of diesel is usually higher than petrol at the pump.
Plus, any new diesel car sold and registered after 1 April 2018 may fall into a higher car tax band if it doesn’t meet new emissions criteria. However, it’s not compulsory for car manufacturers to comply with the new Real Driving Emissions Standard until 2020.
With these new taxes on emissions coming into place, you need to consider emissions of CO2 and NOX when you buy a new car. Fortunately, there have been many advances in technology in this area in recent years. Cylinder deactivation is now used by VW cars, and new compression developments have allowed petrol cars to close the gap on diesel when it comes to economy.
Best options for lower mileage drivers
If you don't cover long distances, a petrol or hybrid car could make more financial sense for you as a low mileage driver.
If you regularly commute into town, then a small city car is ideal. However, it’s not so great if you need space for taking the family out at weekends. But if you predominantly make short trips to and from the shops or to work, then a petrol car is going to be a more cost-effective option at the pumps.
The rise of hybrid cars
If you’re looking for an environmentally cleaner choice than petrol or diesel, then there are an increasing number of hybrid cars available.
Hybrids are fuel efficient because they also use electricity. The cost of electricity to charge a hybrid isn’t free, but it’s undoubtedly less than filling up a car with petrol or diesel.
But there are other factors you should consider. You can still expect to pay a lot more for a hybrid version of a car than you would for a traditionally powered model. Plus, if you go for a plug-in hybrid, you need to have somewhere to charge it. Check out how many recharging points there are in your vicinity before you take the plunge. And do you have a local garage with mechanics equipped to carry out any maintenance needed?
The most economical car for you
So rather than focussing just on fuel economy, consider which type of car is going to best suit your everyday driving scenario.
Hybrid cars are ideal if you have a long commute in and around an urban area. Petrol cars are great for your regular short trip into town. And diesels will be more cost-effective if you spend a lot of time on motorways travelling long distances.
Are you looking for reliable car maintenance and servicing?
Foster & Heanes offer car servicing, maintenance and repair for all makes and models of vehicles including classic and vintage cars. We can arrange free collection and delivery if you live near our Fleet or Dogmersfield service centres.