A simples guide

What is green car insurance?

The future is green, or at least it should be if the UK Government is committing to reduce 80% of its emissions by 2050 – which is a lot of bad air to make disappear. So how can we all do our bit and what exactly does it mean to ‘be green?’


What is green car insurance?

Well, let’s get one thing straight – being green isn’t about the paintwork on your car so just because your car comes in a jazzy shade of lime doesn’t mean you’ll get special green motor insurance. It’s about being eco-friendly and sustaining our planet for the future.

Green insurance could be about a few things – so let’s get that out the way first. It could be about finding the best insurance for your eco car, or it could be about choosing an insurer for your regular car that is doing their bit for the environment by offsetting emissions. Of course, if you’re really keen it could be both, in which case – bravo.

So, what is an eco car?

It’s one that has lower or no emissions or uses sustainable fuel. Regular petrol and diesel cars emit a combination of gases from their exhausts every time they’re in use. You can sometimes see those emissions – it’s that cloud of air from your car’s exhaust if you’ve left it outside and started it on a cold day.

Eco technology is advancing all the time but some eco-friendly cars you may have heard of include:

Hybrid cars: cars that use a regular (combustion) engine and a battery powered motor. They have lower emissions because they use both energy sources to run. Such as the Honda Prius

Electric cars: these use an electric battery to run, they make almost no noise and you’ll need to plug it in to recharge. Such as the Nissan Leaf.

Biofuel cars: these use fuel made from plants and even old cooking oil, they do use a little bit of regular fuel like petrol or diesel but only emit the amount of carbon emissions used to run them, as a result they’re considered ‘carbon neutral’. (Not yet available in the UK for passenger cars, but available for some commercial and agricultural vehicles such as buses and tractors.

Hydrogen cars: hydrogen is used and converted into power, the only waste product these cars emit is water. Such as the Honda Clarity FCV (not yet available).

LPG cars: Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) burns cleaner than traditional petrol and diesel. You can convert your regular petrol car to LPG meaning you can run it off both fuels.

More than 50,000 ‘alternative fuel cars’ or AFVs, were registered in the UK in 2014 – that’s a 58% increase from the year before. But if you can’t see yourself plugging your car in at bedtime or converting your existing car to LPG, then how can you drive with more consideration for the environment?

What can I do for the environment if I drive a regular car?

Even if you drive a petrol or diesel car, there are still things you can do to lower the impact of your car’s emissions. Here are some handy tips to help the environment and potentially save you money (the planet and your wallet will thank you):

Size does matter: only buy a car that fits what you need, if you usually drive alone do you really need a seven seater?

Lose some weight: we’d never suggest ditching the spare wheel but losing a few kilos will reduce the amount of fuel you use. The heavier your car the more power it needs to move so clear out the boot and back seats to save some pounds. Also loosing roof racks if not needed will help reduce your drag.

More tips

Gear box choice: an automatic car will use about 10% more fuel than a manual.

Two wheels or four wheels: a four wheel drive uses about 4% more fuel than a two wheel drive, even if it’s the same style and size so think carefully about how you’ll use your car – you probably won’t need a 4x4 if the only off-roading you do is parking on a raised kerb.

Anticipate road conditions: reading the road, driving smoothly, avoiding sharp acceleration and heavy breaking. These will mean you’re breaking less harshly and using less fuel. 

Tyre condition: check your tyre pressure regularly, under-inflated tyres are dangerous and can increase fuel consumption by up to 3%.

electric car

Is eco insurance for cars cheaper?

It will depend on your policy, your car and how you drive. However, if you have an eco-friendly car there are specialist insurers but also general providers such as Admiral, The Co-operative and Tesco do offer cover for certain alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs).

Having an eco-friendly car doesn’t automatically put you in some special ‘green insurance group’. But insurers will consider your car’s performance when quoting prices and a less powerful eco car may attract lower premiums and tax.

If you drive a petrol or diesel car and want to drive more considerately you could think about telematics insurance (or black box insurance). A black box or smart phone app will record how and when you drive which could result in savings from your insurer.

You might also consider whether you want a green insurance company to cover your eco or traditionally fuelled car. This could mean your insurer plants trees to offset your car emissions or that they use garages that focus on recycling car parts and components.

So you see, driving an eco-car doesn’t always have to be about having a car that you need charge up every day. It’s about making informed choices and that’s where we come in, because we’re here to help you find the right deal by comparing the market for you – simples.


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