Making sense of responsible motoring
Which is the cleanest fuel?
24th October 2018
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But before we get too excided let's see the figures for Hydrid and Electric vehicles. Hybrids produce their own electricity through energy that would ordinarily be wasted (such as when we decelerate or are braking). They use this to increase the efficiency of the Petrol engine.

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Table of 10 year old vehicles
Table of brand new (2018) vehicles
It is unfortunate that there were not many Hybrid cars available 10 years ago, so we have two model groups unfilled. However from the ones we have, we can see that Hybrids were already less polluting than their Petrol, Diesel and LPG equivalents 10 years ago. But there are a huge choice of brand new Hybrid's available, things have also improved dramatically too. The hybrid actually offers an incredibly high performance option, which is also fuel efficient and kind to the environment. So the Hybrid clearly deserves every bit of positive media attention it deserves.

So last of all we have to add the Electric vehicle, charged by plugging into the mains. If we believe what the manufacturers (and out governments) tell us, an electric car actually results in no CO2 whatsoever. However we know this is not true. While it is true that there are no CO2 tailpipe emissions from an electric car, the CO2 produced during the generation of the electricity of the car has to be taken into account, you may wish to read about it in our article Are electric cars saving the earth?.

So we have developed a system for working out the equivalent CO2 output for an electric car, and this is what we shall use for the data in this article. So we can add a table for electric cars as below:
Table of 10 year old vehicles
Table of brand new (2018) vehicles
Unfortunately, 10 years ago electric cars were very new to the market place, and there are not really any that fit into our categories. However there are plenty of brand new examples, so we can still get a picture of how they fare in the production of CO2.

We can then use the data from all of these tables, to produce some line charts. These help illustrate our findings more clearly.
So before we move on to the other kinds of pollution, let us recap on what we have learnt about which cars are best, in the fight to prevent global warming. Straight away we can see that Hybrid cars have pulled an early lead. One thing is certain, Hybrid cars are categorically the best car to buy if you want to do your bit to prevent global warming. What is puzzling, is that Electric cars are not. It is a great injustice that our governments choose to offer the owners of Electric cars such attractive tax breaks and buying incentives, when they are not actually the best option for our planet.

Owners of electric cars are not subject to the inflated fuel cost and road tax, that the rest of us are; where as they are actually one of the biggest contributors to CO2 production, and in turn global warming. What is also interesting, is that Diesel cars are also a good choice, where as they are receiving a lot of negative press at the moment.

This data also highlights one more crucial thing, people are starting to move from Diesel engines and change back to Petrol. But in reality Petrol engines, are still a highly polluting medium. Perhaps more should be done to make people aware of the facts surrounding the different types of fuel?

So lets now move on to how fuel effects the immediate environment, where the car is driven.

Effects on the immediate environment, and air we breath

So we have covered what is best for the planet as a whole, and that is incredibly important. But it is also important to determine what is best for our own immediate health. Even if a fuel is producing less CO2, if it is resulting in other harmful emissions, we need to consider that too. So lets now look at the remainind four factors of pollution:
Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx)
Particulate Matter (PM)
Hydro Carbons (HC)

Once again there is lots of data available for Petrol and Diesel models, but it is harder to find the data we want, particularly with older models of cars. Therefore, for the purpose of this next section, we shall just look at a family sized saloon - something similar in size to the Ford Mondeo.

This time, we have compiled a complete table of all the different types of fuel, straight away. This also covers all of the different pollutants. Once more we have one for 10 year old vehicles, and one for brand new ones.
Table of 10 year old vehicles
Table of brand new (2018) vehicles