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Changes to unleaded fuel that may affect you

Currently all UK forecourts are required to sell the new E10 unleaded petrol rather than the E5 unleaded fuel that it previously sold. The E10 fuel contains 10% bioethanol in each litre of fuel which is a renewable fuel created during the fermentation process of a wide variety of crops. By increasing the proportion of ethanol in unleaded fuel, indirectly it reduces carbon emissions which is good news for the planet.

So, are there any disadvantages for drivers who are having to use this new fuel? Thankfully, the answer to this question is very little. There may be a slight drop in fuel economy, but the majority of drivers will not notice the difference when all the other factors that affect fuel consumption are taken into account.

The main group of car owners that will need to find an alternative to using this new fuel will be those that own classic cars, or some cars manufactured pre-2011. The problem with the higher level of ethanol in the fuel is that in older vehicles it can cause rubber hoses and seals to deteriorate quicker making breakdowns more likely. Many garages still sell E5 petrol at a higher cost to the driver but for owners of valuable classic models they will need to use this and unfortunately shoulder the cost.

Are some cars safer than others?

Safety is a key consideration for many people when buying a new car. Making sure your vehicle provides maximum protection in case of an accident is essential, but another factor is how pedestrian friendly the car is in the case of any unfortunate contact. The use of air bag technology in cars has been a major factor in passenger safety in recent years and research into how this technology can be improved to provide even better protection is ongoing.

Recent safety tests conducted by experts in this field have highlighted some of the vehicles that are top of the game in terms of overall safety. The BMW iX, which is an electric car, scored highly across the board and was praised for its innovative active bonnet that releases an airbag on contact with a pedestrian to minimise injury.

In the cheaper car range the Skoda Fabia has a good reputation for safety especially for its adult and child safety features inside the vehicle. Although it does not have active bonnet features it still has safety assist features that make this a safe car to drive in a variety of driving conditions.

When buying a used car, it is certainly worth checking the safety record of the vehicle make and model to ensure you and your passengers are safe when travelling.

Keep your car safe from thieves

Whether you own a top of the range 4×4, a spacious family seven-seater or a small city car your vehicle is, next to your house, probably the most expensive item you have which is why criminals are increasingly targeting these expensive possessions. As vehicle thefts and the theft of valuable parts such as catalytic convertors continued to rise last year which are the most effective ways of protecting your vehicle and avoiding the distress and frustration caused by these crimes?

As silly as it sounds clever parking can make it much more difficult for thieves to have access to the underside of the car. Keeping the car locked away in a garage is ideal but if that is not possible parking the front of the car, where the catalytic convertor is situated, as close as possible to a wall will give added security.

Having a reliable, good quality CCTV camera system that covers the area where the vehicle is parked is a good deterrent as is outdoor security lighting which is set to come on if there is movement detected around the vehicle. A doorbell camera is another way of monitoring who is visiting or watching your property and possibly assessing your comings and goings and the value of your vehicle.

What’s new in the SUV range?

SUV or sport utility vehicle is a car classification that includes road-going passenger cars with features commonly found on off-road vehicles, such as four-wheel drive. They have become increasingly popular not only with rural dwellers but also with those drivers who spend a lot of time on motorways.

Toyota have recently launched in the UK a seven-seater SUV called the Highlander and although this vehicle has been around for quite a while in other countries the all-wheel drive model is now available in the UK. This full hybrid self-charging SUV not only provides lower emissions but looks stylish, has plenty of interior space and comes with a multimedia touchscreen which controls major functions such as navigation and entertainment.

The seven-seater Highlander is so versatile as the rear passenger seats can be moved forward and backward and the rearmost seats fold into the floor so opening up a huge amount of boot space for luggage or shopping.

With safety in mind the Highlander has an active safety and driver assist system which will detect pedestrians by day and night a real boon when driving on rural roads which may be poorly lit. With its emergency steer assist and intersection turn assistance this has got to be one of the safest SUVs on the road today.

Drive down the cost of charging your electric car

Electric car ownership is growing at a rapid pace as the choice of vehicle becomes more varied and electric charge points become a more common sight on forecourts and at shopping centres and car parks. The cost of charging differs from place to place so here are a few tips to reduce the costs of charging your electric vehicle.

If you are able to charge your vehicle at home check to see if your energy company offers a tariff designed specifically for electric charging as this can save money. It may be worth speaking to someone at the energy company directly on the telephone rather than looking online. Charging at night may also save money when it comes to charging at home.

When out and about make sure that you are getting a good deal for electric vehicle charging as the cost varies from place to place quite considerably especially with fast charge points. If you have got time choose a slower charge point rather than a faster one unless it is essential for your journey. There are apps available that will not only show the location of charge points but the cost too so it may be worthwhile downloading an app to use.