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Fuel types

There are lots of things to consider when choosing a new car, but fuel type is one of the most important when it comes to running costs, affordability and environmental impact. The Motability Scheme offers petrol, diesel, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully-electric vehicles to give you as much choice as possible – but what is right for you?

Traditional petrol and diesel engines have been around for a long time and are by far the most common vehicles on the road at this time. There are pros and cons to both fuel types and the right choice for you depends on the type of journeys you usually make.

If you rarely drive on motorways and tend to stick to lower speeds or urban driving, a petrol vehicle will likely be more suitable for you. Generally speaking, diesel vehicles are better suited to drivers that tend to make longer journeys or spend more time on motorways. Diesel usually costs a little more per litre at the pump, but diesel vehicles are also likely to give you more miles per gallon (MPG) than equivalent petrol vehicles.


If you are considering a petrol or diesel engine vehicle, you should check the miles per gallon (MPG) that the vehicle achieves. This is the number of miles that the vehicle can be driven on a single gallon of fuel and helps to give you an idea of running costs.

All modern petrol and diesel engines are much more environmentally-friendly than they were in the past, but both create CO2 emissions. Diesel engines are now fitted with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) to reduce the emissions they create, but you may want to consider a different fuel type if you are concerned about your environmental impact.

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Hybrid vehicles combine a standard petrol or diesel combustion engine, battery and electric motor and can be considered the first step towards going fully electric. The electric motor powers the wheels at lower speeds or in combination with the combustion engine, with the combustion engine taking over the driving or recharging the battery when needed. This combination makes hybrid vehicles highly efficient for urban driving.

Typically a hybrid vehicle battery is charged by the engine, mainly from the energy created under braking. However, you can also get plug-in hybrids which can be charged using an electric socket or a charging point and often feature a bigger battery, meaning you can drive further on pure electric power. In some cases, this can be as much as 30 miles. Otherwise, hybrids are refuelled in the same way as a conventional petrol or diesel vehicle. Please note that if you would like to have a charging point installed at your home to charge your plug-in hybrid vehicle, you will be responsible for the cost of this.


If you are considering a hybrid vehicle, there are a few things to be aware of. As hybrid vehicles use both combustion and electric power, they generate both an MPG figure and a ‘range’ figure. MPG relates to the distance that can be driven with a single gallon of petrol or diesel, while the range is the distance that can be driven purely on electric power from a single full charge of the battery. We display the ‘weighted' value, which combines the MPG and range in to one figure, but this may vary considerably in the real-world depending on your driving style, the journeys you typically make and the power source that is used most often.

The CO2 emissions of a hybrid vehicle can also vary significantly. If you are using electric power, no CO2 emissions will be produced, but if you are using the combustion engine this will produce CO2 in the same way as a conventional petrol or diesel engine vehicle. We display the ‘weighted combined’ CO2 emissions value to give you an idea of the emissions you might produce, but your real-world emissions are likely to vary depending on the journeys you make and the power source you use most often.

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Fully electric vehicles are probably the long-term future of motoring, with the government planning to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 and hybrid vehicles from 2035. Electric vehicles work solely on battery power and are the ultimate eco-friendly choice as they create zero exhaust emissions.

Rather than MPG, electric vehicles work on ‘range’ and you need to regularly charge an electric vehicle to make sure you have enough range to complete your journey. The range of an electric vehicle is the distance that can be driven on a single full charge of the battery, but this can be affected by a number of factors including the outside temperature, your driving style and even whether or not you are using the air-conditioning. Generally, electric vehicles are more suited to urban driving rather than longer motorway journeys.

As electric vehicles do not use any sort of combustion engine, they do not produce any CO2 emissions. This makes them the most environmentally-friendly choice on the Motability Scheme.


If you are considering an electric vehicle you will need to have access to a charge point to recharge the battery and pay for the electricity that is used. There are two options available on the Motability Scheme. If you have off-street parking, you should be able to have a charge point fitted at your home. If this is the first charge point you have had installed, the cost of supplying and fitting the charge point will be covered partly by the Government’s ‘OLEV’ grantOpens in new window, which will be arranged on your behalf. We will then cover the rest of the installation costs, but if any work is required to gain access to your electricity supply you will be responsible for these costs. Please note that you can only receive an OLEV grant once, so if you have previously had a charge point installed which is not compatible with your next car, there will be a cost of £350 to fit a replacement.

Alternatively, if you don’t have off-street parking, or it’s not possible to fit a home charge point, you will be able to access a network of public charging points for easy on-street charging. To find out more about the charging options available on the Scheme please speak to your dealer when choosing your car.

You can also find and use other local charge points by visiting websites such as in new window or If you prefer to use a different provider to one recommended by the Scheme, you will need to cover any installation or access costs for this, along with the electricity used. 

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Car Search

To get an idea of the vehicles and engine types currently available on the Motability Scheme, please follow the ‘Search Cars’ link below. Here you can find all of the current makes and models offered through Scheme, as well as pricing and your nearest dealership. You can also filter by fuel type to see what we offer in each category.

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