Green living: Save Our Earth By Living Green

Finding a green family car

In the years when we didn’t give the environment much thought, the most pressing criteria for choosing a family car were the boot space, the number of passengers it could carry and what kind of mileage you got. Today, though, it’s equally important to consider how the car you drive will affect the environment.

Honda Jazz Hybrid
Image: honda.co.uk

Petrol prices are on the rise – seemingly without limit – and so any aspect of a car’s build that will reduce fuel consumption is desirable. It’s a happy coincidence then, that the more eco-friendly cars are often the most fuel-efficient. Fuel efficiency also means that cars with hybrid or biofuel engines produce less harmful emissions, such as carbon dioxide, NOx and particulates.

So, why how do hybrids save fuel and reduce emissions? The internal combustion engine is assisted by an electric motor, which is powered by its own battery. The motor’s battery is recharged through regenerative braking – so every time the driver brakes, kinetic energy is stored in the battery for later use. The engine does not have to work so hard, as the motor assists it through acceleration, and therefore burns less fuel.

If the car that you own has low carbon dioxide emissions, this means you pay lower road tax. It’s as well that there are reduced running costs as it is fair to say that there is still a premium price on eco-friendly cars when you buy them new.

Although the first eco-cars were of diminutive stature, there are now a huge range of shapes and sizes, and a broad choice of manufacturers to choose from. Honda and Toyota may have been the first to introduce hybrid production cars back in the 1990s, but now pretty much every manufacturer has a family sized eco car in its range.

One example is the Honda Jazz i-VTEC HX IMA Hybrid, a five-door hybrid hatchback. This car does 62.8 miles per gallon in its Euro combined cycle and emits just 104g/km of CO2.

It’s a fine balance when finding a car that suits your family and the planet simultaneously, but it can be done!

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