A Bit Of Green Is Always Good For The Bank

by : Robert. Wood

There was a time when the big advantage of having a green car was that it didn't show the dirt as much as a white one. Nowadays however, green cars are the thing to drive. They are not only a great way to save money and save the environment, but they also make Jeremy Clarkson so hot and bothered that his forehead alone begins to contribute to global warming.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says that sales of hybrid cars doubled in Britain last year, and no amount of Chrysler adverts are going to stop this trend continuing. With oil prices reaching $100 a barrel, the government offering all sorts of financial incentives for planet-friendly vehicles, and many insurers offering cheaper quotes, it may soon be an economic necessity to think green. But what are the best options on the market at the moment? We've had a quick look to give you the run down on the best motors for your pocket.

The Toyota Prius is a hybrid car, which means it uses an electric motor at lower speeds before engaging the petrol engine when you ask for more speed. The Prius hits the road at £17,777 - more than £6,000 more expensive than a Ford Focus. However, there are big savings to be made by choosing the Toyota as the Prius manages a pretty impressive 65.7 miles to the gallon. According to Friends of the Earth this will save you £630 a year compared to an equivalent Ford Mondeo.

Another advantage is that the Prius's low CO2 emissions ensure that Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is only £15, and make it exempt from the London Congestion Charge. If you drive into London for work every day then you will save yourself more than £2,000 a year on congestion charges alone. Add that to the fuel saving and you're comfortably £2,500 a year better off already.

If you are worried about escalating petrol prices, or want to make your drive even more eco-friendly, then a G-Wiz is an even better option. Average models reach the check-out at around £9,500 and come with the inestimable satisfaction of telling people you drive an entirely electric car. Electric vehicles are exempt from VED and the London Congestion Charge, and the G-Wiz is also cheap to insure - all models currently fall in insurance group one.

You charge your G-Wiz from home using a regular 13 amp socket, though Reva does recommend investing in a 16 amp charging point. And what is more, according to the car's website the cost of the electricity you use is equivalent to an amazing 600 miles per gallon. Take into account the free-parking and company car tax exemptions that come with an electric motor and you are in line for some truly amazing savings.

The G-Wiz is very definitely a city car though. It has a top speed of roughly 50 miles per hour and if you're planning a long drive then forget it. Although there are charging points located across London, the G-Wiz has a lifespan of just 40 miles per charge.

The other environmental option that may save you money is diesel. The Volkswagen Polo Blue Motion 1 1.4 will set you back just over £12,000 and like the G-Wiz is exempt from VED. It clocks up about 60 miles to the gallon and if new emissions-based congestion charging comes in this February, the Polo will also be exempt.