What is a low emission vehicle?
First, let’s look at what makes something a low emission car. According to the UK government, low emission cars are those with CO2 exhaust emissions of 75 g/km or less.
The average petrol car on UK roads emits 180 g/km of CO2, while diesel cars produce even more at 173 g/km of CO2. Across the pond, this is even worse. In the USA big cars are big business, which sees the average vehicle on the road kick out 650 g/km of CO2.
All that CO2 builds up in our ozone layer, making it one of the major causes of global warming.
Do you have to pay tax on low emission vehicles?
One of the main advantages for drivers of low emission cars is how cheap they are to tax. With an average petrol car that emits between 111 and 130 g/km of CO2, road tax could cost £180 a year, while the price for a high-end fuel car could be anywhere up to £2,245 a year.
With low emission cars, this price is much cheaper.
Cars that emit between 51 and 75 g/km only have to pay £15 a year in road tax rates, while cars that produce even less CO2 are exempt from road tax altogether.
Not only will you help save the environment, you’ll help save your bank balance too.
What car has the smallest carbon footprint?
Both the Nissan Leaf and the Toyota Prius offer very low carbon footprints, with zero CO2 emissions. However, to have a total carbon footprint of nothing, you’d need to consider both how the cars are made and how they’re charged by their drivers.
A zero emission car charged by a conventional electricity supply would still have a carbon footprint, as the electricity would be created using fossil fuels.
The same goes for if the factory that made the car also used traditional energy sources.
While switching to a car with low emissions is a great place to start, the energy grid as a whole will also need to change if it’s going to have the desired effect.
10 of the lowest and zero emission cars for 2021
We’ve rounded up 10 of the best low emission car deals in the UK, all of which produce 0 g/km of CO2. They cover a range of different driving needs, from speedy urban cars ideal for the daily commute, right through to high-end motors that are packed with power.