Which type of fuel?
If you are thinking of changing your car maybe the type of fuel that it uses should now be a very important factor, when making your decisions in an attempt to reduce you carbon footprint.
The most common types are still petrol and diesel; however, hybrids, electrics and hydrogen cars are up and coming in the market.
Petrol is divided in to two main areas, Sin Polmo 95 and Sin Polmo 98. The 95 and 98 stands for the research octane ratings, the higher the rating the better performing the petrol is. All manufacturers build their engines to work with a certain type of petrol; many handbooks do not tell you what fuels are better for your engine. The exact petrol needed can be found out via technical data normally held by garages and mechanics. Petrol engines are normally quieter and cheaper to repair than their diesel counterparts but are less environmentally friendly.
Diesel or as it is referred to here, gasoil, has lower C02 emissions and some high performance diesel fuels are available here. Diesel has high engine efficiency but is louder than its petrol equivalent. Diesel is more economical for drivers who do more kilometres.
Hybrid combines a rechargeable electric system with a fuel-based engine. Usually the electric battery is recharged by the internal combustion engine or from the kinetic energy adsorbed when braking. This results in impressive fuel economy and better efficiency, they have lower fuel consumption, lower C02 and other pollutant emissions, however they are very expensive and not as readily available as petrol and diesel cars.
Hydrogen cars convert chemical energy of hydrogen in to mechanical energy to give the car its power; it has no C02 or other emissions and is environmentally friendly. Hydrogen however is highly flammable, difficult to obtain and store safely.
Electric cars need to be charged via your electrical supply or at garages that have the facility. The charging time will vary for each make and model. There are no emissions from these types of vehicles and they are very quiet and have good acceleration. They do however require a lot of electricity and have a short range, approximately 75 kilometres. Most have a top speed or around 70 km/h. This would be a suitable vehicle for someone who only travel short distances in and around town.
Bio-diesel These are produced from the oil of crops such as oilseed rape, sunflower and soybeans. Can be used as a 5% fraction in existing diesel engines with no need for modification. Using bio-diesel will reduce the amount of CO2 your engine produces by up to 60%, resulting in lower pollutants entering the environment. However, bio-diesels do produce oxides of nitrogen which has a tendency to form a smog. Higher amounts than 5% additions can be used with the engine requiring limited modifications but this may affect vehicle warranty.