How much time would you say you spent in your car per week, on average? Of course it’s something that varies hugely from person to person, but I’d put money on the fact that it’s more time than you might think. Recent research shows that the average UK driver spends 8 hours a week in their car, which works out at 18 days per year. That’s just the average, though; in the North East, ten per cent of those questioned said they spent over 20 hours per week in their car, while people in London were most likely to drive for under an hour a week.
Naturally, the more time you spend in your car, the more important it is what car you choose. At the same time, if you’re spending more time in your car, this means that you’re also spending more money on fuel. This year has seen the highest-ever number of new registrations for ultra-low emissions vehicles, representing 1.4% of the total. Last year, that percentage was 1.1%; the year before that, 0.9%. But perhaps that’s no surprise, given the encouragement drivers are being given to make the switch away from petrol and, in particular, diesel. We all know that the government are planning on banning the sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2040 (though hybrid cars will be excluded from the ban), and many cities – London in particular – are cracking down on high-emissions vehicles, and especially diesel cars.
If we are all going to have to make the switch to low-emissions cars, then maybe now is a sensible time, financially, to make the move. Prices at the pump are currently at a six-month high – around 7p per litre more than it was a year ago. Plus, thanks to the government’s ‘plug-in’ grants, many low-emissions vehicles cost less than they otherwise would.
What seems to be putting many people off changing from petrol or diesel cars, though, are worries about the reliability of the vehicles, or whether buying one now would mean missing out on any upcoming technological developments. And as Isabel Hardman wrote recently, there are still numerous issues with electric cars that need fixing before they are embraced into the mainstream.
With no sign of fuel prices changing from their upward trend anytime soon, when it comes to doing what’s best for your wallet, a low emissions vehicle might well be the answer.