Remember all those back and forths in the fight between Porsche and the city of London over laws regarding dirty vehicles in the city? Turns out Porsche might have been on to something with their poll that found 75 percent of Londoners thought the £25 congestion charge was too high. Maybe.

Research conducted by New Car Net (through its website, with over 1,400 participants) found that motorists in Londoners were among the least likely in the UK to think about buying a vehicle that wasn't powered by something other than diesel or petrol. New Car Net asked potential car buyers this question: "When you buy a new car, would you consider an alternative fuel (ie. other than regular petrol or diesel)?" and found Londoners answered yes 65.5 percent of the time. While that's well over half, only one section of the country (NE England) had a lower response rate. While there are a lot of people who said they'd consider an alternative, only one in 140 actually bought such a vehicle (for example, a hybrid, or a biofuel- or LPG-powered vehicle) in the UK last year, New Car Net discovered. Let's remember that there simply aren't that many vehicles powered by say, batteries or - ha! - hydrogen fuel cells available these days. More details after the jump.
Press Release:

London's car owners least keen to go green

Despite recent increases to the Congestion Charge as well as the cost of fuel, London's 2.6 million car owners* are among the least likely in the UK to choose a car powered by alternative fuel, according to research by motoring website NEWCARNET.co.uk.

More than one in three drivers in the capital (35%) said that they wouldn't even consider alternative fuels to power their next car, let alone actually buy one. Only motorists in the North East of England are less keen on green fuels; 43% surveyed in the region aren't willing to look further than traditional petrol or diesel powered vehicles.

Although more than three quarters of British motorists would be willing to switch, very few actually do. Just one in every 140 new cars bought in the UK last year (16,575 or 0.7%) draws power from biofuel, LPG, hybrid technology or electric alone.**

NEWCARNET.co.uk's research also showed that millions are still confused by alternative fuels – almost half of those questioned (49.3%) did not realise that "hybrid-power" combines an electric motor with a traditional petrol or diesel engine.

When you buy a new car, would you consider an alternative fuel
(ie. other than regular petrol or diesel)?

Region

Yes

No

NE England

57.1%

42.9%

London

65.5%

34.5%

N England

66.7%

33.3%

Midlands

67.2%

32.8%

Wales

73.3%

26.7%

Scotland

74.1%

25.9%

NW England

76.7%

23.3%

SE England

79.5%

21.5%

East Anglia

80.0%

20.0%

SW England

84.6%

15.4%


For those currently refusing to consider going green, almost two in five (38%) felt that there was a lack of choice and availability of cars and fuel, with only six hybrid, four LPG and 45 bio-fuel-powered cars on the market today***.

Another third of respondents were put off by the perceived expense. Whereas prices for the petrol-driven Honda Civic start at £14,490, the cheapest hybrid is £17,105****.

And, despite biofuels having proved themselves in the world of motorsport*****, 22% felt that green power just couldn't equal the performance of a pure internal combustion engine.

"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."

The majority of people (70%) think that the government and manufacturers need to take more responsibility in switching motorists to using alternative fuels. By contrast, just 16% of people feel that it's down to individuals to make the change themselves.

For further information, please visit www.newcarnet.co.uk

ENDS

NEWCARNET.co.uk's survey ran on the website from October 2007 to February 2008, with a sample of 1,418 motorists.

Attached photo shows the Honda Civic Hybrid, the "green" version of one of the few cars to be available in both petrol and Hybrid versions.

* - Department for Transport vehicle registration statistics, 2007, which state that 2,588,474 private cars are registered in London.
** - Department for Transport vehicle registration statistics, 2007, which state that of the 2,390,080 cars registered for the first time, 16,575 were powered by something other than petrol or diesel.
*** - Data taken from vcacarfueldata.org.uk
**** - Data from Honda.co.uk on 4 June 2008 with prices for the lowest cost Civic Hybrid and lowest cost petrol-powered Civic.
***** Bio-ethanol power has won races in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, where an Aston Martin DBRS9 almost won the 2007 title and some competitors even claimed that biofuel had "too much" power. The fuel is also used to power all cars in the American Indycar Series.

[Source: New Car Net]

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