Pay 50% Less Tax On Petrol – No Matter What

6 March 2001

The Chancellor Says on Budget Day

Last year’s petrol protest brought the amount of tax we pay on petrol and diesel to everyone’s attention. Even the Chancellor is rumoured to be ready to reduce tax by a few pennies. Every little helps, but if you want to pay less petrol tax – a lot less – you need a Toyota Prius.

Taking an average of 12,000 miles per year and £4 per gallon, the outstanding fuel economy of Prius will save you over £1,000 in fuel costs compared to the 1.6 auto Ford Focus (Prius has an automatic transmission as standard) and over £750 compared to the VW Bora 1.9 TDi diesel.

So, whatever the level of tax on fuel, the Prius driver pays a lot less to the exchequer.

Half the Consumption – Twice the Saving

On the Urban cycle the Prius has an official consumption figure of 61.4mpg. The Ford Focus 1.6 auto can only manage 25.9mpg and the Mercedes A-Class A160 is not much better at 27.2mpg. Even diesels can’t match it. For example, the VW Bora 1.9TDi has an Urban Fuel consumption figure of 31.0mpg. That means it needs twice as much fuel as the Prius.

How It Works

The Prius, a full-size four door family car, has a multi award winning petrol-electric hybrid engine that cuts emissions and fuel consumption by half compared to similar

sized petrol and diesel cars. At a standstill, or moving slowly, the Prius uses its electric motor. At higher speeds it uses the highly efficient 1.5 litre petrol engine and when accelerating it uses both, the electric motor assisting the petrol engine to save fuel even in those traditionally “thirsty” circumstances.

The world’s first mass production hybrid car, the Prius asks no compromise from its drivers and owners. To offer reassurance about the new technology, Toyota offer the Prius with a five-year/60,000 mile warranty and even offer to buy the car back in the future to ensure the recycling is properly handled.


How do you classify Prius? It is a hybrid car, but it is also a very well specified, refined family saloon that happens to offer exceptional fuel economy in urban and city traffic.

Against Other Hybrids

As a hybrid, Prius has currently only one rival, the Honda Insight, but beyond the powertrain there are no other comparisons. Prius is a fully practical four-door saloon with a full size boot. It is also better specified and costs less to buy than the Honda.

Lower Medium Saloons

Looking at comparable small saloon cars the best selling is the Ford Focus 1.6 litre petrol. Prius is obviously better in fuel economy and emissions – an important factor for company car taxation – but it is also better specified than the Focus Ghia. Add in all the extras you need to bring the Ford up to Prius level and the Toyota costs 5.5% less, and that’s before you start saving money on petrol and tax.

Better Than Diesel

Some will look at Prius in relation to diesel saloons, seeking fuel economy and lower running costs. Against two of the best, the big selling Peugeot 406 HDi LX and the VW Bora 1.9 SE TDi, the Prius wins. Prius offers almost half the fuel consumption of the VW on the urban cycle and bests even the long-legged Peugeot on the combined cycle. Of course, where Prius really wins against the diesels is in lower emissions. At just 114 g/km CO2 the Prius will attract a much lower tax bill than either the VW (173g/km) or the Peugeot (150g/km).

Finally, given Prius’ undoubted status as the most technologically advanced family car on the market, there will be customers who are attracted to it as the smart thing to have in the city. Here it arguably rivals the Mercedes A-Class. Even allowing for recent price reductions, Prius costs less and is better equipped. It also wins on emissions and fuel economy. For city dwellers, the Prius offers the opportunity to give the Chancellor less than one third* of the tax the Mercedes driver does. How’s that for direct action in protest at fuel prices?


(*based on the Urban Cycle consumption figures)

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Pay 50% Less Tax On Petrol – No Matter What

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