A Guide to Buying a Car or Van

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1 A Guide to Buying a Car or Van In this guide, aimed at companies and fleets, we list the important factors to take into account when specifying the vehicle you need for the job. Checklists are included to help you. NUMBER HERE?

2 Summary Choosing vehicles for your business is a complex process. Comfort, image, branding suitability, and even emotional factors need to be considered alongside the vehicle s ability to do the job, its price and running costs. When comparing one car or van against another, always consider whole life costs: useful figures are available from the manufacturers and from independent websites such as AA Ireland or Fleet Transport If your choice of vehicle uses 12L/100km (23.5 MPG) and your intended use is 50,000km per annum, factor in the savings possible if you chose a vehicle capable of 10L/100km (28 MPG): At 1.21 per litre of diesel, you will save 1,000 per annum exclusive of VAT. As reduced CO 2 emissions are directly related to reduced fuel consumption and costs. This shows a car (2.5L rated 239g/km) outputting 9.6 tonnes of CO 2 per year, next to a house emitting 9 tonnes, next to another car (rated 180g/km) emitting 7.6 tonnes CO 2 per year. Emits 9 tonnes of CO 2 per year Emits 9.6 tonnes of CO 2 per year Emits 7.6 tonnes of CO 2 per year WHOLE LIFE COSTS There are many factors to include in your purchase decision, this document focuses on energy efficiency and those features that impact on fuel efficiency, Running costs include your fuel, servicing your vehicles, road tax and insurance, breakdown cover, replacing tyres and yearly MOTs. You can find tables of running costs in fleet management magazines. Remember to ask around for recommendations. VRT-Car-labelling SEI How clean is your car: 1

3 CHOOSING A NEW VEHICLE It s essential that you work out how the new vehicle will contribute to your business. Do you need to purchase a new vehicle, or can you manage your existing fleet more efficiently? Where would the new vehicle fit in to the existing fleet? List your business needs, to ensure that you can justify the expense of a new vehicle and to ensure it is used efficiently. Remember it s now a legal requirement for your vehicle supplier to tell you the CO 2 ratings for cars so ask for CO 2 ratings for each vehicle Also ask your vehicle supplier for fuel combined cycle consumption figures (NEDC New European Drive Cycle). Talk to your drivers and contacts in the industry to get their opinions. Work out fuel costs over the lifetime of the vehicle. Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) Vehicle Registration Tax is now based on CO 2 emissions, rather than engine size. This new system was introduced in 2008 and it rates vehicles in the same way as home appliances. In the table below you will see the banding system for the Irish scheme. IRISH VEHICLE REGISTRATION TAX BANDS VRT Category A Rated B Rated C Rated D Rated E Rated F Rated G Rated Zero rated Electric cars & motorcycles Co 2 EMISSION FIGURE (g/km) 0 120g/km g/km g/km g/km g/km g/km 226g/km and over For further information, please follow this link: Vehicle Road Tax, VRT-Car-labelling VRT_Information When buying a car or van, check its VRT category. Cars with lower emissions pay less tax. Compare your fuel sources choosing a petrol car with emissions of 180g/km puts the car into category E. If you chose a biofuel vehicle instead your emissions could be reduced, placing you in category D. Don t forget, electric cars are zero rated. 2

4 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT Increasingly companies are concerned about their carbon footprint. You can reduce your carbon footprint by reducing your energy usage in the form of petrol and diesel. You can also reduce your carbon footprint by choosing different fuels. Many of your employees may shop regularly for organic food. They may be aware of concepts such as food miles, but may not be so aware of the impact of their own car use, or of your company s travel and transport miles. Driving a typical 2.5L executive car outputs approx. 9.6 tonne of CO 2 per year more than the average Irish home which emits 9 tonne (Reference SEI). Instead choosing a vehicle based on a lower CO 2 rating (i.e. a rating of 180g/km rather than 239g/km) can reduce your CO 2 output by over 2 tonne per year. Making the decision to use a car that has lower emissions also changes your vehicle s VRT Rating from G to E. Petrol and Diesel Diesel engines are more efficient than petrol engines, and produce less CO 2. They also emit less carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) than the same car running on petrol. Diesel engines do emit greater levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and soot than new petrol cars or vans. When buying vehicles that use alternative fuels, the options are: Biofuels: Please refer to the SEI Guide to Biofuels. Electric Vehicles: Please refer to the SEI Guide to Electric Vehicles. LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) and CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). As of January 2009, some of these vehicles qualify for Accelerated Capital Allowances, offering significant discount in capital costs. Talk to your accountant and consult when planning your purchase. 3

5 Conclusion There are many factors to look at before you decide which vehicle to buy. Taking time over the right decision will save you money in the long run. Do you need to purchase a new vehicle, or can you manage your existing fleet more efficiently? Where would the new vehicle fit in to the existing fleet? List your business needs, to ensure that you can justify the expense of a new vehicle and to ensure it is used efficiently. Ask your supplier for CO 2 ratings for each vehicle. Also ask your vehicle supplier for fuel combined cycle consumption figures (NEDC New European Drive Cycle), so you can compare vehicles. Talk to your drivers and contacts in the industry to get their opinions. Work out fuel costs over the lifetime of the vehicle. When buying a car or van, check its VRT rating. Cars with lower emissions pay less tax. Compare your fuel sources choosing a petrol car with emissions of 180g/km puts you into category E. If you chose a bio fuel vehicle instead, your emissions could be reduced, placing you in category D. Don t forget, electric cars are zero rated. Short Vehicle Checklist for Energy Savings: Look out for: A low emissions rating, and a low VRT and Road Tax rating. Reduced fuel consumption figures that go directly with low emissions. Consider fuel choice: Diesel emits less CO2 than petrol and therefore costs less to run. Minimise vehicle weight and size: choose the smallest and lightest vehicle that meets your needs. Look for a good aerodynamic shape, although this should be reflected in lower emissions rating. A manual or automated manual gearbox ( also known as a Double Clutch or by manufacturers own branding such as DSG, Tiptronic etc). Cruise control. Tyre pressure monitors. And finally don t forget to road test before you buy; measure fuel usage brim to brim if you can. GVW: (Gross Vehicle Weight): Gross total weight of a loaded vehicle, including payload. Lighter vehicles are always more fuel efficient because they have less weight to pull. Payload The maximum weight/amount of goods or people that a vehicle can carry. Links AA Ireland: UK Vehicle Energy Ratings: Irish equivalent: Vehicle Road Tax: Car-labelling SEI How clean is your car: 4

6 General Vehicle Checklist for Buying Cars and Vans Price, finance deals, insurance group, road tax and running costs. Service records Satellite navigation. Vehicle tracking systems. Fuel type/co2 output/emissions ratings/fuel consumption figures Peak torque (revs), identify peak torque points for max pulling power. Make & model, type of vehicle i.e. minibus, pick up, 4x4, microvan, panel van. Engine (cc), Power (bhp), Torque (lb-ft). Wheelbase (mm), Load length (mm). Load width (mm), Load height (mm), Load vol (cu m). Rear doors (type). GVW: Gross Vehicle Weight (kg). Payload (kg). Tow braked (kg). Depreciation. Versatility. Safety features: airbags, visibility ABS (Automatic Braking System)/EBA (Electronic Brake Assist). Security: alarm fitted, engine immobiliser, central locking. Power steering & manoeuvrability. Tyre pressure monitor. Build quality. Front or rear wheel drive. Aerodynamics: roof rack, open load area, light bars and bull bars. Idling revs once engine warm. Auxiliary power is it needed? Refrigeration units. Mileage (if not new). Reliability. Comfort (driving position and suspension). Interior features: air conditioning, cruise control etc. For more information refer to SEI s other Transport Energy Guides, visit Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Ireland Glas Naíon, Baile Átha Cliath 9, Eireann T F

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