Motoring and the Environment

The day of the big-engined, petrol-powered car is just about over. These cars – once a status symbol of the Celtic Tiger era – can now be seen advertised on a variety of on-line websites for a tiny fraction of their original cost. The main reason that these vehicles are not ‘cool’ anymore is two-fold. Firstly, the cost of fuel and secondly, the cost of the annual motor tax. Usually, the vast majority of pre-2008 registered, petrol-engined cars return little more than 15 to 20 mpg and can often cost anything up to €1,500 per year to tax. Now, more than ever, savvy motorists are turning their attention to diesel-powered, electric-powered or hybrid cars (a combination of electric and petrol/diesel) and the benefits speak for themselves.

Firstly, the envoirnmental benefits are clear to be seen with a much lower level of Carbon Dioxide (co2) being emitted into the atmosphere. Secondly, for any car registered since 2008, the road tax is based on the co2 emissions – so, the lower the co2 figure, the lower your motor tax will be. Thirdly, it is quite possible to obtain fuel economy of 70 to 80 mpg from some diesel powered cars.

It often transpires that motorists moving from their, afore-mentioned, gas-guzzling cars to a new, small capacity, diesel engined car can see their motoring costs not only halved, but in most cases quartered. It makes good economic sense to cut down on motoring costs wherever possible and, if the personal finances are available in order to make the switch to a post 2008, low emission car, then the savings will be noticed from day one.

Every car manufacturer around the world is aware that their products are primarily purchased by cost-conscious buyers who will not only look at the initial cost of the car in the first place, but will also need to know that the new car they are thinking about buying is going to be affordable to run – with fuel economy and motor tax being the 2 major concerns. It is often the case that a brand-new 2.0-litre turbo diesel car can cost as little as €180 per annum for road tax. A similar size engine in a pre-2008 car will have an annual road tax bill of €710. In other words, depending on the car brand and model you choose, you could potentially tax a new 2.0-litre diesel car for 4 years for the price of a similar pre-2008 car of the same engine size.

However, many car manufacturers are now focusing their attention on small capacity petrol powered cars, which are set to give diesel-powered engines a good run for their money – so to speak.