Deciding on what fuel to have a few years ago wasn't much of a choice; diesel for economy, petrol for performance, but times have changed. With oil prices rising, manufacturers are producing alternatives fuels to diesel and petrol. Search 2 drive gives you the low-down on what you should choose and if you want to save money driving look at the relevant page.
We also have information at Businessfuelcards.co.uk that aims to provide the right business fuel card to any UK business that purchases fuel for their company vehicles.
Diesel technology may be making the headlines, but petrol engine technology advancement has been just as impressive. Power has been improving dramatically with subsequent new models, with no impact on fuel consumption.
Emissions have dropped dramitically and petrol engines don't need the additional power-sapping soot filters fitted to diesel powered cars.
A petrol vehicle would suit a driver who wants performance and a quiet ride or at the luxury end of motoring.
Diesel technology has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years. Turbochargers have made diesel engines unrecognisable and almost all diesels now have a one and noise is no longer a real issue.
Modern direct-injection and common-rail systems are also worth looking out for - they improve performance and economy even further, and are often quieter, smoother and less 'smoky' than older, less advanced systems.
If you cover a massive amount of miles then you are most suited to a diesel.
(Liquefied Petroleum Gas) There's no question that LPG is one of the most inexpensive fuels on the market, in fact the most compelling argument for switching to LPG could well be the economic one.
It retails at around half the price of petrol and diesel - and, if your company operates a fleet of LPG vehicles, bulk tank prices are even lower.Converting your vehicle or vehicles to LPG, it usually takes around two years to recoup your investment in fuel savings.
As the engine tends to run more smoothly on LPG, it reduces engine wear - and, as such, may well increase the life of your engine and other key components.
There are a number of other financial benefits to running your vehicles on LPG too:
Thanks to it creating fewer emissions, LPG found favour with the government since its early beginnings. The development of LPG Vehicles has subsequently been encouraged by way of cheaper car tax and low fuel duty.
Gone are the days when insurance premiums were higher for drivers of LPG cars. One insurance firm has now identified LPG drivers to be worthy of LOWER than average premiums.
The most environmentally-friendly, alternative fuel vehicles receive a 100% discount on the London congestion charge - you'll need to check the Powershift Register at www.powershift.org.uk list to find out if your vehicle is on it.
A number of local councils throughout the UK are starting to incentivise the use of LPG cars by offering discounted car-parking in their town or city centre car parks.
Despite all the financial savings, you won't have to put up with a loss of performance. Driving on LPG is virtually the same as driving a petrol or diesel car. What's more, engine noise is around 50% lower with LPG than it is with diesel.
So its clean, green, economical and great performance. What more could you ask for?
Automotive LPG Market Overview
Automotive LPG, commonly know as Autogas, the most readily available alternative fuel to petrol or diesel. The increase in interest in autogas was prompted by the government reducing the duty on autogas in the late nineties, making the fuel a viable alternative. As a result fuel suppliers started providing LPG refuelling facilities and car producers added LPG versions to their ranges.
Overall Autogas Consumption
The use of Autogas LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) in the UK increased from around 6 million litres to 35 million litres per quarter between Q1 2001 and Q1 2002. This initial escalation was triggered by the government introducing a number of measures to attract consumers to using the Environmentally Friendly fuel. At the forefront of these measures were a lower level of fuel duty and government backed grants. These had the effect of significantly lowering the costs of both running and converting petrol engined vehicles to run on Autogas LPG. The lower level of duty is still encouraging the demand for Autogas, with the average price of Autogas currently 46.6 ppl compared against unleaded petrol at 95.3 ppl and diesel at 97.2 ppl *(source fleetnewsnet.co.uk, 26th September 2007).
Since Q1 2002 the demand for Autogas has continued to grow and is now currently around 230 million litres per annum.
Facilitating this supply of LPG is approximately 1,200 Autogas outlets including around 800 petrol forecourts.
LPG has been used as a fuel for cars for over 20 years but has only really enjoyed a high profile in recent years.
The Global view
• Over 36,000 Autogas refuelling sites
• Over 31 billion litres of Autogas used per annum
• In excess of 9 million motorists
The total number of vehicles running on Great Britain's roads is also increasing. The growth in vehicle numbers is due to new OEM (original equipment manufacturer) car sales, influx of foreign nationals with vehicles previously converted/bought with duel fuel facility or, in the majority of cases, through aftermarket conversion by an LPG specialist.
There are currently around 200 LPGA approved conversion companies who, in 2006, completed 15,000 conversions. Aftermarket conversions have always been the major feeder of vehicles into the marketplace, with specialist companies developing vehicle specific kits to suit a wide-range of applications. Much of the equipment used in conversions comes from mainland Europe, via a UK distributor, where the Autogas industry is more fully developed and supports the firms in this area of expertise.
Some of the larger conversion companies and kit importers in the UK have set-up agreements with OEM's to provide and install manufacturer approved conversions to new vehicles including Citroen, Ford, Saab, Subaru and Vauxhall.
Commercial customers can purchase LPG vehicles from Yuejin, a
Chinese manufacturer, who offer a number of cost effective light-commercial configurations. Also the latest version of the Ford Transit is available with a 2.3 litre petrol engine which conversion companies are well on the way to developing conversion kits for.
LPG users in London can also benefit further. The cleanest LPG vehicles registered on the PowerShift Register in Band 4 can apply to Transport for London to receive 100% discount on the London Congestion Charge for a once a year fee of £10.
Environmental & Social Benefits
LPG is one of the cleanest vehicle fuels available, producing far less carbon dioxide than petrol and fewer particulates and nitrogen oxides than diesel. In environmental terms.
Pan-European tests carried out on new vehicles in 2003 showed that for:
Global warming:Use of LPG resulted in a 20% saving on CO2 over petrol and a 1.8% saving compared with diesel.
Air Quality:On urban roads, on average, just one diesel vehicle emits the same fine particles as 120 LPG vehicles and the same NOX as 20 LPG vehicles.
LPG vehicles can help offset the considerable social costs of pollution damage to health and buildings.
You get a quieter ride with LPG; noise levels are 50% less than with diesel engines
A joint-venture company between Calor Gas and Shell Retail, focussed solely on the provision of forecourt LPG refuelling facilities.
Autogas currently hold a market share of in excess of 20% of the total supply of LPG. We operate Autogas facilities over 220 petrol forecourts under Shell, Texaco, BP, Total, Esso and Somerfield branded canopies, both company and independently owned.
The text above was supplied by
More and more hybrid cars are arriving on British roads. Hybrid vehicles combine two sources of power - a battery and conventional engine.
Hybrid cars produce lower emissions and are cheaper to tax than petrol or diesel powered vehicles. In addition, they're also exempt from London's congestion charge.
Hybrids offer an improved fuel economy than petrol and diesels engines with the Toyota Prius offering a claimed 65mpg.
If you divide your time between the city and the motorway and don't require a high-performance vehicle then a hybrid should suit your needs.
Bio-ethanol is a renewable fuel derived from everyday farm crops. Emissions from cars running bio-ethanol are slightly lower than petrol and the growing of crops such as sugar beet and absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
Ethanol has a higher octane rating, which helps the fuel to burn faster, increasing the efficiency of an engine.
Currently there are a limited number of garages selling bio-fuel, but more are opening all the time.
Bio-ethanol powered cars can run on bio-fuel, petrol or any combination of the two and with oil prices increasing, they're a good alternative to diesel and petrol.
Fuel consumption for a bio-ethanol is slightly lower than with petrol and diesel.
Bio-ethanol could prove to be the fuel of the future so if you cover a lot of miles and want a car that will still perform then a bio-fuelled car is a good choice.
Electric vehicle technology is improving all the time as more become available.
An electric car releases no emissions and is completely silent, as a result, owners don't have to pay the London congestion fee.
They are simply recharged by connecting them into any conventional wall socket. The result is a car which, once paid for allows almost completely free motoring.
However, most electric cars only cover around 50 miles between charges so long journeys are usually out of the question.
If you just drive in the city where you don't ever get the chance to do more than 40mph then an electric car is the perfect choice.