autosanity.com
Making sense of responsible motoring
Which is the cleanest fuel?
24th October 2018
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From the tables, it is immediately evident that there are more pollutants in the tailpipe emissions of 10 year old Diesel cars than 10 year old Petrol cars. It is also interesting that this difference closes up, when we look at brand new cars. New Diesel cars are far, far better than they were 10 years ago.

We can see that LPG cars offer yet again another improvement, over the Petrol figures. Although they do emit slightly higher CO levels.

As expected, Electric cars have no emissions whatsoever. A purist would argue that there are bound to be emissions of Particulates, due to the friction of the tyres, and grit from the roads; but this is negligible.
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Overrall conclusion

Our analysis quicky determined that Hybrid cars are best for the environment, and are also incredibly favourable in large built up cities. So if you want something that ticks all the boxes, a Hybrid is certainly the way to go.
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So now that we have all this data, what does it mean, and how does it affect our health?

First of all, the carbon monoxide levels shown in all cases, are relatively harmless. Significant improvements in this occurred more than 20 years ago, and as a result they are far lower than poses a significant risk to our health. For this reason we can pretty much ignore these figures entirely. These levels of CO would actually only be a risk, if you deliberately breathed in the emmissions of a car, up close, every day, for months.
Next we consider the Oxides of Nitrogen. Unfortunately no-one really knows safe levels for these, but what we can say, is that the figures we have seen pose no risk in a rural area of small town. However they might be significant in a larger town or city. Therefore we can determine that Diesel cars are far worse if you are living in a large city, and the best cars to own are Electric, Hybrid or LPG.

Particulate matter levels are another element that no-one can genuinely quantify a safe limit for. However despite strict limits even 10 years ago, Diesels were by far the worst offenders in 2008. In modern times things have improved significantly, and all cars produce close to no Particulates. Therefore if you are purchasing a new car it does not really matter which fuel you choose, you will be producing close to no PM. In reality, the levels even 10 years ago were minimal, and far, far below those thought to cause health problems. Therefore when it comes to PM, it does not matter which fuel you choose.

Hydro-Carbons are the last item of concern. At a glance it is interesting to see that LPG and Electric cars are incredible clean, Petrol and Hybrid cars are much better and Diesels noteably the worse offender. But when we consider the effects of Hydro-carbons we can determine that none of these levels offer a significant risk, even in larger cities. Therefore this is another pollutant that we do not need to consider when comparing the different fuels. It simply does not matter which fuel you choose, because none of the levels are high enough to cause concern.

So in conclusion, Carbon Monoxide, Particulate matter and Hydro Carbons are not really much of a concern with the average car, regardless of which fuel you use. It is only the Oxides of Nitrogen which offers a slightly elevated interest to our health, which is unfortunately an unknown. We can therefore determine that for rural areas, or small villages and small towns, it does not really matter which fuel you pick. However in large cities it is best to select a car that uses LPG, Electricity or Hybrid technology.






Table of brand new (2018) vehicles
Table of 10 year old vehicles
The benefits of Electric vehicles in the city, are really outweighed by the high levels of CO2 they are responsible for, so we cannot recommend their use in any context until the generation of the UK's electricity is cleaner.

Just like Electric vehicles, LPG vehicles are also great for the city. But just like Electric vehicles they also have a significant impact on CO2 levels, and we therefore cannot recommend these either.

But the two biggest surprises are with Petrol and Diesel vehicles. Petrol vehicles are the highest contributor to CO2 levels, so it is odd that some people are switching to them from Diesel vehicles. We can only assume this is because of mis-information in the media. Diesel vehicles actually produce very low CO2 levels, and it seems odd they are not been openly praised for it. Further still, if you live in a remote area or a small village, the negative effects of Diesel or Petrol cars, to the immediate area are not even worth considering.

So unless you live in a densely populated city, the best choice is probably a either a Diesel or Hybrid, whichever suits your needs. However if you do live somewhere densely populated, the only sensible choice is a Hybrid vehicle.

What is interesting, is that Diesels are not so bad after all, and the high levels of taxation they attract, are clearly, grossly unfair. LPG owners are actually polluting far more than we realise, and are getting a lucky tax break they perhaps do not completely deserve. But the biggest revelation is that Electric vehicles are still not the "knight in shining armour" they are supposed to be, and it is incredibly unfair that they are offered so many incentives and tax breaks, when they are not actually the best solution for our planet, and our health.

I hope in time, our governments realise, that they should really be promoting Hybrids. Perhaps it's time we started seeing LPG-Petrol Hybrid vehicles?

The benefits of Electric vehicles in the city, are really outweighed by the high levels of CO2 they are responsible for, so we cannot recommend their use in any context until the generation of the UK's electricity is cleaner.

Just like Electric vehicles, LPG vehicles are also great for the city. But just like Electric vehicles they also have a significant impact on CO2 levels, and we therefore cannot recommend these either.

But the two biggest surprises are with Petrol and Diesel vehicles. Petrol vehicles are the highest contributor to CO2 levels, so it is odd that some people are switching to them from Diesel vehicles. We can only assume this is because of mis-information in the media. Diesel vehicles actually produce very low CO2 levels, and it seems odd they are not been openly praised for it. Further still, if you live in a remote area or a small village, the negative effects of Diesel or Petrol cars, to the immediate area are not even worth considering.

So unless you live in a densely populated city, the best choice is probably a either a Diesel or Hybrid, whichever suits your needs. However if you do live somewhere densely populated, the only sensible choice is a Hybrid vehicle.

What is interesting, is that Diesels are not so bad after all, and the high levels of taxation they attract, are clearly, grossly unfair. LPG owners are actually polluting far more than we realise, and are getting a lucky tax break they perhaps do not completely deserve. But the biggest revelation is that Electric vehicles are still not the "knight in shining armour" they are supposed to be, and it is incredibly unfair that they are offered so many incentives and tax breaks, when they are not actually the best solution for our planet, and our health.

I hope in time, our governments realise, that they should really be promoting Hybrids. Perhaps it's time we started seeing LPG-Petrol Hybrid vehicles?