How to select the right vehicle fuel type

May 1, 2015 | By | In Buying Guides
How to select the right vehicle fuel type

Petrol, diesel, LPG, electric, the list goes on. Today there are a range of different vehicle fuel options available and each comes with its own set of pros and cons. As emissions regulations change, it’s important to think about the type of fuel your car runs on as it can impact purchase and running costs. 

Here we share insight with a rundown of the different fuel types, and tips for considering each:

Petrol

These are often the cheapest cars, they’re easy to come across and petrol is cheaper than diesel to purchase at the pumps – especially now the price of crude oil has dropped. Prices are likely to fluctuate though, so keep a check on costs in your local area at petrolprices.com. On the downside, petrol cars are generally the least efficient at burning fuel and have the highest level of emissions, so drivers of petrol cars will need to fill their tank more frequently. If you’re doing shorter distances this may be the right fuel type for you, but if you cover a lot of miles it may not be the most cost-effective option. If you’re deciding between two vehicles, use a fuel calculator, like the one at Honest John, to compare costs. 

Diesel

The second of the ‘traditional’ fuels and one we’re all familiar with. Compared to petrol, diesel engines are more efficient which means lower car tax bands and less trips to fill up the tank. They currently tend to have a slightly better resale value but the purchase price will be higher than a petrol equivalent. This may all change though as we await amends to air quality measures which will take into account NOx emissions – and this is where diesel cars fall down. So, good for high mileage drivers now but one to keep an eye on.

LP Gas

A much cheaper alternative to petrol or diesel. Not quite as efficient in terms of fuel consumption but LP Gas is around half the purchase price of petrol or diesel, so you could save a third or less if the car you purchase has already been converted. There are around 1,400 LP Gas fuelling stations nationwide and 150,000 LP Gas fuelled cars on the road, so it’s a fuel growing in popularity. Find out more from UKLPG: www.drivelpg.co.uk.

Hybrids

There are different types of hybrids available but the most common you’re likely to come across is a petrol engine and an electric motor and battery. These can be perfect for some drivers sticking to towns and cities but not economical for long distances. Read up on the range of hybrid options at nextgreencar.com/hybrid-cars

Electric

The only ‘fuel’ type that will give you zero tailpipe emissions. Yet, there’s ongoing debate about the overall environmental impact of these vehicles due to the electricity requirements and battery manufacturing process which is energy intensive. Electric cars are ideal for city driving and with the right planning can manage longer distances. It’s therefore important to really consider your lifestyle carefully before purchase to ensure an electric vehicle will get you where you want to go. Of course, you’ll need a charge point at home too. Find out more at energysavingtrust.org.uk

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