The Top Five Lowest CO2 Emission Cars

As you will probably know there are standards and measurements that define a car as a high or low emissions vehicle. An LEV (low emission vehicle) is a vehicle which emits under 193 grams per mile of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). CO2 is the pollutant which has the biggest environmental impact other poisonous substances emitted by vehicles include CM (carbon monoxide), sulphur, NOX (nitrous oxide) and HC (hydrocarbons). Apart from LEVs, several other categories exist that further determine vehicle emission levels: SULEV (super low emission car), ZEV (zero emission car) and ULEV (ultra low emission vehicle).

So as part of the battle against global warming and the damage motoring has done to our planet here are the top five lowest CO2 emission cars that you can buy today:

1. Peugeot iOn — 88 Grams per km

As an entirely electric car, there are no emissions from this vehicle whilst it is in motion. However, CO2 is emitted when the electricity is produced to charge it. The most recent figures from the Department for Climate Change and Energy say that, on average, 521g of CO2 are released from this vehicle per kW hour of electricity, but if we can generate cleaner electricity from sources such as wind or wave power then this could be dramatically reduced.

2. Volkswagen Polo — 99 g/km

The majority of VW Polos have modest emissions; however it is the 1.2 TDI Blue Motion diesel which releases the least at 99 g/km. This is particularly good and helps with the low running costs. On the other hand, Polos with the 1.4 litter petrol engine have the worst emissions, recording 140 g/km.

3. Vauxhall Ampera — 102 Grams/Kilometre

Amperas are “range extender” hybrids. This means they can operate on electricity without range anxiety, because they have a petrol engine as well. Shorter distances can be driven solely in electric mode, so there are no emissions. Nonetheless, according to tests carried out by Which? Magazine, in combined petrol/electric mode, the car actually releases 102 g/km of CO2.

4. Smart ForTwo — 105g per Kilometre

Smart ForTwos are among the most recognizable city cars in the world. They only have a couple of seats, but they are surprisingly spacious for both passengers and drivers. Its’ 0.8 CDI engine emits low CO2 levels, and it scored 105 g/km in the Which? Magazine tests. The manufacturer claims the CO2 is 88g/km, thus free road tax still benefits this car.

5. Nissan Leaf — 106g per km

One of the UK’s first family sized, battery driven cars, the Leaf has a low cost of running. The car’s exact CO2 output varies based on how you charge it. For instance, if you supplement charging it with solar power, the CO2 output figure will be reduced.

Looking to the future

Fuel cell technology features in the most recent experiments to develop affordable vehicles with zero emission. These vehicles operate on hydrogen, and this is turned into electricity using fuel cells to charge an electric motor. According to experts, fuel cell vehicles should not be too costly once they are mass produced, removing another potential barrier in getting them to market.

One major negative of this is the process of hydrogen extraction, as it is not easily available. It needs to be extracted out of fossil fuels, and this causes pollution. Other environmentally friendly technology includes natural gas, liquid petroleum gas and bio fuels, which all produce some encouraging results in emission tests and measurements, but all have their own issues with other environmental issues associated with them.

Sean Dominey is a member of the team at Creditplus experts in finding and arranging finance for your next car, if you have any questions about car loans have a look at