The Toyota Prius still rules supreme in the green garage. It is the least polluting, emitting just 104g of carbon dioxide per kilometre.
Anna Shepard - Times Online - Dec. 29, 2006
2007 Toyota Prius-II receives a “B” green rating which allows a minimum of taxes and fees for its owners in the urban areas of the UK.
It makes no sense to razz around in a gas-guzzler. Not only will you get stern looks at your local farmers’ market, but you miss out on the financial incentives of owning a low-emission car.
The greener your car, the lower your road tax since it depends on fuel type and eco-credentials. Cars registered from 2001 have a green rating on a scale from A to F, based on carbon dioxide emissions. Electric vehicles are in category A and pay zero tax. By contrast, four-wheel drives such as Landrover Freelanders are in F, spewing out over 185g of carbon dioxide every kilometre and costing you £195 a year in tax. Use this online calculator (vcacarfueldata.org.uk/ved) to work out your car’s rating.
Londoners who drive a vehicle in category A or B (less than 120g of carbon dioxide per kilometre) will be exempt from paying the congestion charge. For more details, go to cclondon.com/exemptions.shtml
You’ll get better insurance deals. CIS Eco Insurance (ecoinsurance.co.uk) gives a 10 per cent discount if your car is in category A, and expect quotes that undercut mainstream insurers for all low-emission vehicles from Climatesure (climatesure.org). Both companies have built-in carbon offsets, so a portion of your premium goes towards funding renewable energy projects through Climate Care (climatecare.org).
Earlier this year the insurer More Than (morethan.com) announced that drivers of green cars would get a discount equivalent to dropping two insurance categories.
If it’s forking out for parking that troubles you, electric cars score again. Not only can the G-Wiz squeeze into small spaces but you can park it free in parts of London. Westminster City Council is the first to reward owners of zero-emission vehicles; it has also set up street rechargers for electric cars. But the scheme that promises the most is being planned for Richmond Council, West London. It would allow free parking for low-emission vehicles and higher permit charges for owners of polluting vehicles. Crucially, it would clobber owners of two cars by charging them 50 per cent more for the extra permit.
MORE GREEN WHEELS
The Toyota Prius (from £17,780) still rules supreme in the green garage, bathed in the glory of its celebrity connections: Cameron Diaz and Orlando Bloom both have one. It is not the only hybrid car to combine petrol power with an electric motor (there’s a Lexus and Honda model) but it is the least polluting, emitting 104g of carbon dioxide per kilometre. Then there’s the Saab 9-5 BioPower, which runs on 85 per cent bioethanol. The carbon dioxide emitted by biofuels is only equal to what the plants used in its production (maize, sugar cane) absorbed as they grew, so it is carbon neutral.
Another great hope is the Tesla (teslamotors.com), pictured below, which proves that electric cars can be fast as well as green. This two-seater does 0-60 in four seconds. If you’d rather take a cab, Both Green Tomato cars (greentomatocars.com) and Ecoigo (ecoigo.com) use a fleet of Toyota Prius cars around London, while off- setting emissions by putting money into climatecare.org.