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Hi! I am Ling Cheap Car Leasing - WAH! from Dragons' Den. I lease cheap new cars!
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...aka "Sweet and Sour Sir Nicholas Stern-Fry Report"!






Using the internet to research and buy new cars is the most environmentally friendly method, by miles


Martin Callanan MEP said some very nice things about my efforts


Christopher Macgowan, Chief Exec of the SMMT has thanked me for giving the SMMT chance to be involved
LING's CREDENTIALS


I have a Master's Degree in Environmental Quality from Bournemouth Univeristy in 2000, plus a BSc in Applied Chemistry from Jinan University, Guanzhou in 1997. So I have some idea what I am talking about, here. How many other people in the UK motor industry can say that?

In addition, I have won many awards. In 2008, I won the "BEST non-franchised ENVIRONMENTALIST" in the Automotive Management Awards, sponsored by the RAC. My website won "BEST non-franchised WEBSITE 2007" in the Automotive Management Awards. My website has been voted in the "TOP 100" in the world, by FHM magazine. I was voted "NORTH-EAST ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR 2006" in the One North East-sponsored WIN business awards. CAR Magazine listed me in their TOP 7 pick of UK car websites. I have around 50,000 unique visitors a month. I have well over 3000 happy, existing customers, and over 900 letters published on this website HERE, and over 150 press and magazine/newspaper articles published HERE.

I have researched this environmental subject widely. I have corresponded with the Department for Transport, have been in discussions with the VCA (the VCA is the designated UK approval authority which compiles the UK vehicle environmental data) and the SMMT (the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders). Sir Nicholas Stern would not return my calls :)

Personally, I do not commute. LINGsCARS office is just 2 minutes from my house. Because (before growth) I used to work from an office in my house, some companies (notably NETWORK, will not deal with me unless I opened a "real" office). Christopher Desplace, head of Network said, "it is Network’s policy for all franchisees to have separate business premises". Does anyone ever ask "why?"??? My decision means I only drive around 5,000 miles a year in total and reduce emissions and costs. Please note I have pioneered availability of environmental information on the internet.

I am determined to create momentum in this dinosoar industry to make it aware of environmental responsibilities. Please ask your local dealer what additional steps they are taking. Please be aware of their advertising, their business methods and their environmental impact and question them; "What are you doing to exceed the legal minimum requirements?".

Martin Callanan (Euro MP for the North East Region) said "Ling and her unique website LINGsCARS.com displays environmental information in a way that leads the UK motor industry. Following my discussions with her about greening the business, Ling has grasped the environmental nettle and is giving UK car buyers comprehensive environmental data on all new cars for sale in the UK to enable them to make an informed choice. LINGsCARS gives a fantastic amount of green information on her new cars, which the rest of the UK motor industry would do well to emulate. Using the internet is already the most energy efficient way of researching and buying a new car, so well done Ling for taking the personal responsibility to push this carbon data to the top of her agenda and to push environmental awareness a big step further"

Christopher Macgowan, Chief Executive of the SMMT wrote to me and said "Ling, thank you very much for giving us the opportunity at SMMT to look at the impact of the (environmental) label in a different media from the car showroom. We have always been aware that like the "white goods" label on which the car label is based, that its merits extend beyond the car showroom. In addition we know that the earlier in the buying process the purchaser thinks about low CO2 emissions the more consideration it will be given in the buying process. The industry is committed to seeing the environmental credentials of cars being widely publicised and the SMMT will continue to provide leadership in this area; as with all new initiatives in a huge industry like ours, it takes a bit of time to become widespread and universally available but please be in no doubt that the SMMT and I personally are determined to see the widespread use of the new label."
Gordon' Fuel CostFuel Cost
MY CUSTOMERS'
ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT


My customers drive brand-new cars. These cars are far less polluting than cars built just a few years ago. As an extreme example, it would take 50 new cars to produce the same emissions per kilometre as a vehicle made in 1970. The new cars my customers are driving have been produced on the most modern production lines, using the latest technology with much lower environmental build costs than cars produced in the past. By their nature, these new cars will be emitting the lowest levels of pollutants than they will ever produce in their lifetimes, as they get older.

According to Nicholas Stern's report, 14 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions come from transport. The SMMT points out that the motor industry recognises it has a key role to play in reducing the impact of its products and production processes and will continue to develop the technologies to deliver more sustainable motoring. New cars, commercial vehicles and buses reflect many of the cleaner technologies coming to market, including biofuel models, hybrids and greener diesel vehicles. On new cars for example, average CO2 has been cut by more than 10 per cent in six years. Improvements at manufacturing sites have been more significant. Published in September, the SMMT's seventh annual sustainability report showed that average energy used – and CO2 emitted - to produce each vehicle in the UK has been halved in just four years.

In addition, my customers have obtained their cars by the lowest polluting method possible - by acquiring them electronically from the internet. No one has had to travel to a showroom (repeatedly) or contributed to car dealers' massive environmental overheads (heating, lighting, water use, fuel, staffing costs). The cars I supply are often delivered direct from manufacturers' depots, or where they have been "through" a dealer, they have not required the showroom overhead (these efficiencies have the added benefit of reducing costs!).

Also, my customers agree to adhere to a fixed mileage allowance (usually 10,000, 15,000 or 20,000 miles per annum) and they are charged for "excess" miles. This means they are far more aware of the costs involved in unneccessary journeys in their new cars. To a certain extent, my customers will consider "is my journey really neccessary?" and "would it be cheaper to do this long trip on the train?".

So, it is probably the case that my customers have the smallest environmental footprints of any new car customers in the UK!



Thank goodness we don't run cars like this, any more!






Sir Nicholas Stern, Head of the Government Economics Service, produced the UK Government Environmental Report on the Economics of Climate Change.
This photo was taken just after he started melting




The VCA is the Government designated UK approval authority




The comparative or "fridge" label, compulsory in car showrooms - except you've got to DRIVE there to see it!
INDIVIDUAL CAR
ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION


I am determined that LINGsCARS.com will go further than anyone else in this industry to exceed the legal minimum information disclosure that 99% of UK franchised car dealers refuse to go beyond (and hide behind, IMHO). So, I make sure that at-a-glance CO2, fuel economy and the coloured "greeness indicator bars" are displayed clearly on my homepage car listings for easy comparison purposes. When a customer clicks through into an individual car's detail, they can see even more information. This includes the CO2 (again) and all three EC fuel consumption measurements. I even include the EU noise rating and the road tax "class" which may influence a customer's car choice decision. (Please bear in mind that the road tax is completely free, from me - I include that cost information so a customer has more clue about the environmental impact of their new car). A very important feature is to be able to compare many different cars - on my main car listing pages. No franchised dealer will allow this, as they are mainly representing just one brand, so how is the average customer expected to make comparative judgements?

The VCA (the VCA is the Government designated UK approval authority) wrote to me, saying "I can appreciate the efforts you are making to improve environmental awareness amongst your customers and I'm sure that your approach will be of help to them when deciding on a new car. At this time there is no legal requirement for dealers to display this information on their websites." Why not? I think there should be! The VCA continued, "Your comments and in depth suggestions on how we might improve the output of the data will be considered alongside any other proposals for change."

I also took the decision to code into HTML and make available for printing the "Comparative Labels" or the "fridge" type labels you see at Comet and Curry's on new fridges and washing machines. No other UK website bothers (or wants) to give their customers this information. One day they will be forced to do this. I have made my code freely available for any dealer who wants to use it, and published a tutorial on how to include this in their websites. This was published on the Automotive Management forum on 26th October 2006. To date, no dealer has contacted me to use my code.

If showroom-based car dealers fail to show fuel consumption labels on new cars on display, or to make available to potential buyers the results of the fuel consumption tests as listed in this booklet, it renders them liable on conviction to a fine of up to £5,000. This is why dealers miraculously acheive these "minimum standards" - under threat of a £5,000 fine!
CARS AND CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2)


Carbon Dioxide is the most important of the greenhouse gases which are contributing to Climate Change. Unless action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as Carbon Dioxide, the whole pattern of the World's weather could change, increasing the frequency and intensity of heatwaves, floods, droughts and storms.

Compared to improvements in the emissions of toxic pollutants, there has been less progress on reducing CO2 from cars. For a given type of fuel the CO2 emissions of a car are directly proportional to the quantity of fuel consumed. Until recently the average fuel consumption of new cars was unchanged relative to that in the mid 1980’s. This was because while engines have become more efficient over this period, average vehicle mass has increased due to additional features to meet crash safety requirements and the widespread addition of features such as power assisted steering and air conditioning. However, there are signs that in the last few years average fuel consumption has begun to drop in response to voluntary agreements by vehicle manufacturers to reduce CO2 emissions.

And if you are thinking that all the fuss at the moment should be about air travel, not cars, Michael O'Leary (of Ryanair) will put you right. He said "Aviation accounts for a 'Mickey Mouse' 3% of carbon emissions across the EU, compared with nearly 25% from road transport" He also said "I don’t believe in trotting out all that PC claptrap just not to upset a couple of fu*king environmental lunatics. They are just loons" - which makes sense to me, as I have a problem with this statement from Christopher Macgowan, the head of the SMMT; "The motor industry is committed to helping tackle climate change". Frankly, I don't think many retailers and dealers are.

When I asked Renault UK what they were doing to encourage franchised dealers to go beyond legal-minimum disclosure of environmental data, they simply said; "The majority of Renault dealers are autonomous businesses with a franchise to sell and repair Renault vehicles and as such, the internal running is outside of our jurisdiction. However, we train the dealer network, to ensure that they are aware of the different models and new technologies available. Some Renault dealerships may choose to advertise this information on their websites whereas some Renault dealerships would choose not to.". Note that this statement is slightly misleading as Renault UK directly owns many of its larger dealerships, and in my extensive research no Renault dealer uses this information online. They could, if they wanted to. Their statement doesn't seem to me to be very pro-active.

Mercedes-Benz told me "Mercedes-Benz dealerships have a limited amount of space available in which to advertise. However, all of the dealership’s websites do include a link to the main site Mercedes-Benz.com where anyone in the world with an interest in obtaining specific environmental information about any Mercedes-Benz vehicle can easily find it. Environmental information is also available in brochures that can be obtained at any dealership." Well, perhaps Head Office at Mercedes-Benz restricts the amount of web space available to each dealer? It's amazing that they use "space" as an argument for not displaying this info online on each dealer's site. Web-space is virtually unlimited! A customer should not need to go to World Headquaters to find it (and even then it is not comparative)!

Back to CO2 - there is no easy technical way to deal with CO2. The best way to reduce it and the other emissions is to use the car only when it is necessary and to walk or use public transport where possible. When you are choosing a vehicle and you have selected the most appropriate class of vehicle for your needs, choose the most fuel efficient vehicle in that group. This is where a franchised new car dealer really struggles. Is a Ford dealer really going to advise a customer to buy a lower-polluting Renault Megane? Did you know the fuel consumption of similar size cars can vary as much as 45%?

At the Kyoto Conference on Climate Change in December 1997 all developed countries agreed to legally binding targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in response to warnings over global climate change. Following this the European Commission and the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) came to an agreement in July 1998 that committed ACEA to reduce the CO2 emissions from new passenger cars by over 25% to an average CO2 emission figure of 140 g/km by 2008. This is one of the most significant industry agreements on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and it has led to more fuel efficient vehicles being brought to the market. Similar voluntary agreements have now been reached with Japanese and Korean motor manufacturers. I dread to think what the Chinese are doing...

My customers are now driving some of these lower-CO2-emitting cars.



Carbon dioxide is a colorless gas which, when inhaled at high concentrations (a dangerous activity because of the associated asphyxiation risk), produces a sour taste in the mouth and a stinging sensation in the nose and throat. These effects result from the gas dissolving in the mucous membranes and saliva, forming a weak solution of carbonic acid. You may notice this sensation if you attempt to stifle a burp after drinking a carbonated drink



Michael O'Leary, CEO of Ryanair talks straight about cars v planes. "The usual horseshit", he says



Renault and Mercedes are the only car companies to reply to my request for info, so far.




You can bet this chap makes noisy, smelly, polluting cars. Don't buy one from him!
The Government is convinced that action to reduce harmful emissions must continue
and is considering
BANNING black people and other immigrants
NOISE AND OTHER POLLUTANTS


The external noise emitted by passenger cars has been controlled since 1929 when the Motor Cars (Excessive Noise) regulations were introduced. New cars are now required to meet Europe-wide noise limits. These have been progressively reduced from 82 decibels (dB(A)) in 1978 to the current limit of 74 dB(A) established in 1996. This means it would take 7 new vehicles to make the same amount of noise as a vehicle that just meets the pre-1978 limits. When looking at the figures it should be noted that off-road vehicles are allowed to be 1dB(A) louder, as are direct injection diesels and these are cumulative i.e. the limit for an off-road vehicle with a direct injection diesel is 76 dB(A).

The other pollutants from petrol, diesel and alternative fuel engines are mainly Carbon Monoxide, Oxides of Nitrogen, un-burnt Hydrocarbons and fine particles. The first three are gases and are invisible. Fine particles are usually invisible although in certain operating conditions diesels will produce visible particles, appearing as smoke. Petrol engines will also produce visible particles if they are burning engine oil or running rich, for example, following a cold start. Unlike CO2, emissions of these pollutants are not directly linked to fuel consumption. Pollutant levels are more dependant on vehicle technology and the state of maintenance of the vehicle. Other factors, such as driving style, driving conditions and ambient temperature also affect emission of pollutants. However, as a starting point new passenger cars must meet minimum EU emissions standards.

The Government is convinced that action to reduce harmful emissions must continue. Its approach to tackling air pollution is set out in the Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This sets health based standards for eight main air pollutants, from which air quality objectives are derived, together with a timescale for their achievement. The Strategy identifies the action required at a national and international level, and the contribution industry, transport and local government can make to ensure objectives are met. Achieving the air quality standards for Nitrogen Dioxide and fine particles presents the greatest challenge, especially in urban areas and close to busy roads.
HINTS FOR LESS
ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE


  • Try to avoid using your car for short journeys - use public transport, ride a bicycle or walk.

  • Plan ahead - choose uncongested routes, combine trips, car share.

  • Cold starts - drive off as soon as possible after starting.

  • Drive smoothly and efficiently - harsh acceleration and heavy braking have a very significant effect on fuel consumption, driving more smoothly saves fuel.

  • Slow down - driving at high speeds significantly increases fuel consumption.

  • Use higher gears, as soon as traffic conditions allow.

  • Switch off - sitting stationary is zero miles per gallon, switch off the engine whenever it is safe to do so.

  • Lose weight - don’t carry unnecessary weight, remove roof racks when not in use.

  • Regular servicing helps keep the engine at best efficiency.

  • Keep the pressure up - make sure the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure for the vehicle.

  • Do not compromise safety but be aware that the use of onboard electrical devices increases fuel consumption.

  • Check your fuel consumption - it will help you get the most from the car, changes in overall fuel consumption may indicate a fault.

  • Use air-conditioning sparingly - running air-conditioning continuously will increase fuel consumption significantly.

  • Final word to Ryanair's Michael O'Leary;
    "Worried about pollution? I'd say sell your car and walk."




  • Be like Minnie,
    be a lovely Driver






    One day, every car will be as Green as my Jolly Green Nuclear Missile Truck
    "Calm down dear!" - it's only done 1,000 miles since 1970 - Ling





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