Your guide to cars on the market
Addressing our aging car fleet
Did you know that Ireland’s car fleet has an average age of 9 years? That itself poses a conundrum when approaching the Irish Government’s ban on the sale of fossil-fuelled cars in 2030. Because only 3% of new car sales in 2019 were electric vehicles.
So, if you drive an older car, but you’re concerned about the environment or the suitability of an electric vehicle, what should you do?
Newer models have lower emissions.
The answer is that emissions on newer diesel, petrol and hybrid models are getting lower all the time. And they will continue to improve right up until manufacturers phase them out. So, for now, it should be all about matching your driving needs with your efforts to lessen your carbon footprint.
And to help you better match your driving needs, check out our guide below:
Finding the right engine for you:
Internal Combustion Engines (ICE)
These cars have been powering us along for over 100 years. While they do release emissions, new technological advances mean the levels are getting lower and lower and will could disappear altogether by 2030.
Numerous technologies are in development which could make ICE cars carbon neutral and these could be in the market by 2030. It is also feasible that all existing ICE cars could be made carbon neutral by 2030 through retrofitting a conversion kit.
Two main types:
- Diesel engine cars are suited to those who drive longer distances, typically more than 25,000km a year. They are slightly more expensive to buy than petrol cars however, savings are made back through better fuel economy when driving longer distances.
New models are fitted with Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs), these are devices which reduce diesel car emissions by capturing exhaust particles. These particles are then burned off, which is why the diesel engine is suited to those driving longer distances.
- Diesel engines can produce more NOx than petrol, NOx stands for nitrogen oxide and includes Nitric Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide. Recently this has become a topic of concern for potential buyers due to the recent Government ‘NOx Charge’. This will add an additional charge to new vehicles and imported ICE cars of €5 per mg/km for a car's initial 60mg/km. However,manufacturers have to adhere to strict European wide emission standards(currently Euro 6), now producing very little NOx emissions, meaning the charge will be lower on newer cars. Although older cars adhering to older standards could face higher charges of over €1,000 for cars over 5 years.
- On top of this, newer diesel engines are typically fitted with AdBlue emissions systems which help them reach Euro 6 standards. AdBlue is a liquid based additive that helps remove NOx emissions. Furthermore, Euro 7 standards, which are expected to come into effect between 2025 and 2030 are expected to make ICE cars totally, or close to, carbon neutral. Ultimately, diesel engines are suited to those who drive longer distances and are not suited to city drivers or those who stop and start.
- Petrol cars are more suitable for city drivers or those who drive shorter distances and are often more responsive, although this means they are less fuel efficient. While petrol is more expensive than diesel, petrol cars tend to be cheaper to buy.
Unlike diesel cars they tend to produce less NOx but typically produce more CO2. Although they are similar to diesel engines because manufacturers of petrol cars also have to adhere to the Euro Emission Standard meaning there are strict regulations surrounding emissions. The newer petrol engine cars produce less CO2 than older petrol cars.
- If you are a city or urban driver or if you drive shorter distances but also need range from time to time then petrol would be more suited to you rather than diesel. The more responsive nature of a petrol engine combined with the comfort make it a better option. Petrol engines also need not worry about the Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs) that diesel engines have,meaning petrol cars do not need to be driven long distances intermittently to burn off the built up particles.