Motorists are willing to pay over the odds for a car that is environmentally friendly, but only if they can see a benefit in other areas, according to new research.
A study by Virgin Money Car Insurance shows that drivers are willing to pay an average of 4.8 per cent more for a car if it is capable of emitting less carbon dioxide than its competitors.
However, when asked about factors other than price that would tempt them into buying a ‘green’ car, 73 per cent of people said cheaper road tax, 71 per cent said lower insurance premiums and only 32 per cent said good acceleration and cruising speed.
Jason Wyer-Smith of Virgin Money Car Insurance described it as "encouraging" that motorists appear prepared to show commitment to the environment by paying more for ecologically friendly cars.
However, he added: "There needs to be more carrot and less stick to encourage more people to make the move into lower carbon emission motoring.
"Insurers can do their bit by looking at special deals for greener cars but the government has to play its part too. Lower road tax is seen as crucial in encouraging people to change their buying habits."
In total, the research found that around 41 per cent of motorists are willing to spend more on a green car, with 19 per cent prepared to pay between six and 20 per cent extra.