Green or Not, New or Used, Be Smart When Buying a Car

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UNITED KINGDOM – For you green-car enthusiasts in UK who are wondering about the future of the £5,000 Plug In Car Grant (PICG), the latest is that the current incentive program will be scrapped at the end of 2015 in favour of a new tiered system to replace the 75g/km CO2 cutoff.

Since the program began in January 2011 more than 25,000 PICGs have been handed out, with 2,000 grants being claimed in January 2015 alone. Even the recent drop in oil prices seems not to have dampened our enthusiasm for plug in cars.

The Government recently made another £200 million available to fund the programme until 2020, but under a new system that favours Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEVs). Qualifying cars will be rated under a three-tiered system based upon their emissions range, but it hasn’t yet been decided how the grant money is to be distributed amongst the three groups. Of course this information is subject to change, and if you are in the market for your next automobile and have your heart set on a green car, it’s wise to keep plugged in (so to speak) to the latest news. One resource is the Gov.UK site.

There are several important points you need to consider whether or not you’re thinking of going green, and for that matter whether you plan to plan to purchase a new or used car, or whether you intend to buy or lease your next car. Otherwise you could end up paying much more than you need to.

Green or not?

If current trends continue this will become a moot question at some point in the near future, as most car manufacturers are now designing with an eye to environmental issues. Although climate change and global warming are still controversial topics in some circles, millions of people have come to realise the effects that driving and fuel consumption have on the environment and they want to do what they can to mitigate their own impact. The PetrolPrices dot com site has a “Green Guide” that can help you decide which if any of the currently available green models are for you.

New or used?

Even though from a purely investment standpoint a new car seems like a poor choice – your new purchase can lose up to 40 percent of its value the moment you drive it away from the dealership – there are obvious advantages to choosing a new over a second-hand automobile. Not only are new cars more efficient, with the latest bells and whistles and in most cases a large list of options, but you also have the advantage of the full manufacturer’s warranty and other perks. Alas, a new car not only has that famous “new car smell” but also the new car price tag. Hence many people turn to used cars.

Buying a second-hand car can be a scary experience as the industry has a bad reputation that isn’t altogether undeserved. Yet there are people who prefer used vehicles because of the money savings (or because they simply do not care for all of the latest high-tech features). You can avoid the pitfalls if you…

• Decide how much you’re willing to spend and stick with that.
• Do your research thoroughly so you will know which questions to ask the seller and what to look for when you inspect the car and take it for a test drive. (If you’re naïve about cars, take along a more knowledgeable friend.)
• Make sure all of the paperwork is in order.

And don’t be afraid to haggle – whether you’re buying new or used.

Lease or purchase?

Leasing your car rather than buying it outright can actually save you money if your car quickly depreciates in value. But a car that holds a large percentage of its original value after a few years will be cheaper to buy than lease. Do your research thoroughly so you can make an informed decision. And if you do decide to lease, read your contract carefully. There can be several disadvantages to lease plans; for instance, you could be charged more if you exceed the agreed mileage, or you might lose money if the car gets damaged.

How will you pay for it?

Buying a car is a major purchase – just about the biggest purchase you’re likely to make apart from buying a house. Not only do you have to consider the purchase price but also fuel, maintenance, and insurance costs. But the first big hurdle is the purchase. It would be ideal if you could just walk into the dealership and plunk down the cash for the entire purchase cost, but few of us can do this. There are numerous options available for financing and borrowing, and this is a decision not to be made carelessly. If you are considering a car loan do your research.

The car you choose will almost certainly impact your quality of life, so choose wisely. And never be afraid to seek information and assistance from reliable and qualified sources.

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