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Blog / Buying Guides / Car Buyer's Guide - Emissions Explained

Written by : sshields

Published on:: 16/11/2015

Car Buyer's Guide - Emissions Explained

What are car emissions?

Traditional car engines produce emissions, which are then released into the atmosphere via the exhaust system. These emissions are a mixture of gases (including carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide) and harmful particulate matter.

They contribute significantly to air pollution – it’s estimated that cars account for 12% of total EU CO2 emissions – which can cause serious damage to both the environment and our health in the long term.

A commitment to change

In recent years, we’ve become increasingly aware of the impact that car emissions are having on our planet. Consequently, governments across the world have started taking steps to reduce them wherever possible.

With targets now in place to improve air quality, all new cars must comply with strict EU vehicle emission standards, known as ‘Euro standards’, and cars in the UK also have to pass an exhaust emissions test as part of the annual MOT.

The European Union has also agreed a mandatory CO2 target for car manufacturers that means that the average emissions of a manufacturer’s vehicles will have to be below 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2015.

Manufacturers are reacting to this by introducing new technologies to help reduce exhaust emissions which in most cases should also improve fuel economy.

How can I help to reduce emissions?

There are several different ways to help the environment when it comes to your car – some simple, and others involving a bit more investment…

Drive less or adjust your driving style

By walking or cycling for shorter journeys or taking public transport, you can easily do your bit to reduce emissions.

Driving more considerately can help too. A smoother driving style can also by avoiding high gears and excessive accelerating.

It’s important to ensure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, as under inflated tyres will increase drag. Roof boxes and roof rails also add to drag, so remove them when you don’t need them. Finally don’t carry unnecessary weight and cut down on the use of electrical devices that place additional load on the engine, like air conditioning.

Invest in a more environmentally-friendly car

Another option is to change your car to one with low emissions, which not only benefits the environment but could also save you money as the more harmful emissions your car releases, the more road tax you’re likely to have to pay. Cars with lower emissions often burn less fuel as well, so you’ll save there too.

It’s not an option for everyone, as changing your car can be a large expense, but you’ll be amazed how much more efficient cars have become over the last few years.

Some of them most popular used low emission cars on our forecourts are the Toyota Aygo, Fiat 500, Ford Fiesta 1.0 & TDCi and the Peugeot 208 HDI.

At The Car People, we make it easy to find cars with low emissions. Our search function allows you to add a filter that specifies a limit for the Co2 G/KM (and, by association, the road tax costs) so you can quickly find the right kind of cars for you.

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