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Low Carbon Vehicles

By: Kelly Fenn - Updated: 23 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
Low Carbon Vehicles Hybrid Lpg Electric

Low carbon vehicles are a greener form of car driving. They emit fewer toxic and harmful gases than a standard car does and they go some way at least, to lessening the negative impact that car driving has on the environment.

Cars in the UK are big polluters but unfortunately their numbers are on the increase, and the amount we use them continues to rise. According to figures from the DVLA, the overall number of cars on UK roads has increased year on year to nearly 30 million vehicles. While it’s highly unlikely that habits will change enough to eradicate car usage in the UK, encouraging drivers to purchase low carbon vehicles is one way to make driving greener.

Drive a Low Carbon Car

It’s important to recognise that using cleaner forms of transport than the car is not always possible in day to day life. Making a car journey, particularly in rural areas or places not well served by public transport, can sometimes be the only realistic way of getting from A to B. Low carbon vehicles aren’t as harmful than standard cars, so if you’re going to drive a car, it ought to be a low carbon one.

Car manufacturers are increasingly aware that greener models of car are becoming more popular with people who are keen to minimise the impact they have on the environment when they need to drive. All new car models are now awarded an emissions rating, which will be able to tell you how green the car is.

Types of Low Carbon Vehicles

There are a number of options to consider when looking for a low carbon vehicle. Here’s a selection of ideas:


Because electric cars do not use petrol, they do not emit CO2 or toxics into the atmosphere when driving. There are no fuel costs involved, apart from the electricity needed to recharge them. Recharging needs to take place frequently, meaning that long journeys in an electric car aren’t feasible. However they are particularly good for city driving. They are a popular car choice in Los Angeles, for example.


Hybrid cars work on the basis of using a mixture of both fuel technologies - electric and petrol power - to run. Because they depend on both forms of fuel they benefit by being able to complete much longer journeys, still producing lower CO2 emissions than a regular petrol car. The Toyota Prius is probably the most well known example of a hybrid vehicle.

LPG and Other Gas Fuels

You can also buy vehicles that run on gas rather than petrol. Although still emitting CO2 and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere, they do so to a much lower extent. One example is an LPG (liquid petroleum gas) fuelled vehicle, which produces around 10-15% less CO2, 75% less carbon monoxide and 85% less hydrocarbons than a regular petrol burning car. The other good thing about gas vehicles is that gas is 50% cheaper than unleaded petrol.

Benefits of Low Carbon Vehicles

Driving a low carbon vehicle helps in the continuing fight against climate change. As you’ll be emitting less CO2 into the atmosphere, you’ll be reducing the overall levels of CO2 that are being pumped into the atmosphere creating the climate change problems we’re seeing already in the world.

There are also a number of financial benefits to owning a low carbon vehicle. Firstly, your running and fuel costs should be lower than if you were in a standard car model – and will be lower still if you only drive your car when it’s absolutely necessary. You may also be eligible for reductions in your car tax and congestion charges, such as the scheme in London.

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