Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

When Smaller Is Not Necessarily Cheaper

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

When Smaller Is Not Necessarily Cheaper

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Hughes

MORE than a third of car buyers are aiming to save money by downsizing to a smaller car or switching to diesel, but in many cases they may be making the wrong decision.

A survey by Glass's Guide suggests that 38% of motorists believe that such a switch will bring them better economy and lower CO2 emissions, which will result in lower taxes.

However, in some cases they will be foregoing the advantages of a roomier ride on the basis of a false premise and will actually save nothing.

Glass's says: "Buyers cited fuel prices and rises in road tax for heavier polluting vehicles as factors motivating them to swap their car for a more compact and efficient model.

"The poll also revealed that a growing number of motorists are switching to diesel as a way of cutting running costs. Of those surveyed, 29% stated an intention to exchange their petrol vehicle for a diesel model, expecting to take advantage of significant reductions in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

"The findings highlight just how keen motorists are to cut the cost of owning and running their cars.

Concerns about running costs are not likely to go away and we expect further shifts in demand during the short and medium term."

However, Glass's spokesman Adrian Rushmore added a note of caution for those thinking of moving to diesel.

"There are certainly benefits to driving a diesel, with greater fuel efficiency and lower road tax," he said. "But buyers need to be aware that these models tend to cost more to buy than their petrol counterparts and it can take years to recoup this investment through reduced running costs." In many cases it is not simply the size of a car that matters but rather the efficiency of their engines, which can differ hugely. For example, the owner of a 140mph BMW 5 Series might be tempted to downsize to a significantly smaller 125mph Ford Focus with a diesel engine of the same size. …

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