What is the best alternative fuel to go for?
Living in an economically unstable world can be unsettling, with constant thoughts about how you can make your money last. For this reason, the prospect of visiting a petrol station and filling up your vehicle seems more like a daunting task due to the rising cost of petrol and diesel.
A survey conducted by MoneySupermarket last year revealed that 62 per cent of motorists have been forced to limit the amount of time they spend driving their vehicles due to the cost of keeping them filled up.
In addition, a further 5 per cent of respondents claimed that they had been forced to give up driving altogether due to the ever-rising prices.
Of course, fuel is not the only expense burning a hole in the pocket of motorists, with car insurance and road tax also leaving a sizable void on top of the usual servicing and repair bills.
What about if these motorists switch to more eco-friendly vehicles?
Not only do greener vehicles offer the prospect of reduced annual fuel bills, but a significant amount are also exempt from road tax charges and are eligible for a 5 per cent car insurance discount from certain insurance providers who are keen to promote environmentally friendly vehicle adoption.
For these reasons, it is no wonder why an increasing number of motorists are seeking environmentally friendly car designs as the answer to their problems relating to rising running costs.
MoneySupermarket has produced an Infographic which looks at the various environmentally friendly options currently available to motorists, debating whether or not the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
In March, the overall spending on petrol and diesel by motorists in the UK rose by 12 per cent. According to EU regulations, the average emissions from cars must fall to under 130g/km by 2015, which means that we are in a situation where we need to lower our emissions and tackle rising prices.
Some researchers believe that they can predict when our reserves of fossil fuels will run out, based on our current usage of them. Researchers have predicted that gas and oil will run out within 50 and 60 years, respectively, whereas coal will last substantially longer - to around 1,000 years.
Good news for the ozone layer is that British consumers appear to be aware of the fact that we need to start thinking about emissions, as there has been a decrease in the amount of CO2 produced by motorists in the UK from 189.8g/kg in 2000 to 144.2g/kg in 2011.
But what are the costs of alternative fuels exactly? MoneySupermarket has examined five alternative fuels and evaluated them on a five-star rating system, taking into account running cost, initial purchasing or conversion cost and their impact on the environment.
Autogas, otherwise known as Liquefied Petroleum Gas, is a gaseous fuel which is already commonly used in widespread South America.
The cost to convert an engine to allow it to utilise Autogas is low, which is one of the main reasons for its popularity. However, its popularity seems to already be past its peak and people are turning away from converting their engines to run on Autogas.
Bioethanol is another possible alternative fuel source, which is made from purpose-grown crops. For greater green and cost benefits, bioethanol can also be created at home from waste oil - although the lack of bioethanol stations would off-put someone converting their engine to accommodate it.
Two concepts already widely available are 'full electric' and 'hybrid electric vehicles'. The wide availability of these alternative fuels makes them one of the better options if you were switching from petrol or diesel-fuelled cars.
However, in the case of both alternative fuels, cars that accommodate the alternative fuels have a high initial purchase cost, which will deter many potential customers. These options would be rated more highly if the car's premiums would diminish.
Another highly anticipated concept is the use of hydrogen fuel cells, as they produce no greenhouse gases whatsoever - therefore the use of hydrogen-based fuels has the potential to be the cleanest alternative fuel around.
The problem with hydrogen-fuelled cars, however, is that, for starters, the cars that can run off the fuel will be very expensive. In addition, cars able to utilise hydrogen-based fuels are not yet commercially available.
Overall, alternative fuels are an exciting and developing sector. Owners of green of 'eco' cars often benefit from lower insurance premiums (up to 5 per cent), tax benefits and an exemption from the London Congestion Charge.