Lack of choice dampens demand for environmentally-friendly vehicles

When asked about buying a more environmentally-friendly vehicle, at least three in five people say that they would consider a hybrid vehicle, one converted to accept bio fuel or an electrically charged car.

In congestion-charged and low-emission zoned London, it is therefore surprising that 35 per cent of people said that they would not even consider test-driving a ‘green’ car.

Unfortunately, nationally, just 14 per cent of purchasers are actually putting their money where their mouths are, and buying a non-petrol or non-diesel fuelled car. One reason cited is lack of choice, with almost two in five (38 per cent) respondents saying that they felt that there was a lack of options and availability of cars and fuel, with only six hybrid, four LPG and 45 bio fuel-powered cars on the market today.

"With three quarters of motorists saying they’d happily consider alternative fuels to power their new car, people are clearly willing to change their habits if the options are there," said Newcarnet.co.uk’s Massimo Pini.

"But all government seem to be doing is increasing costs without promoting alternatives. People need to know the real financial benefits and feel confident that alternative fuels are widely available if they’re going to switch from petrol and diesel."

High-profile motorsport cars have been converted to be powered by bio fuels and they have competed on equal terms with fossil fuels. Despite this 22 per cent of people expressed doubts about lack of performance from green vehicles.

Another factor deterring people from spending on the environmentally-friendly options is a price differential – the Honda Civic starts at £14,490 for a petrol version whereas the cheapest hybrid is £17,105.

The final factor occurred when people said that they didn’t understand the new terminology and technology or what it would contribute to their motoring experience.

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