Cost of motoring now a luxury

OWNING AND using a car is increasingly becoming a luxury in Portugal, according to the Finance Agency.

A journey between Oporto and the Algarve could set you back as much as 204 euros and is never cheaper than 113 euros – very close to the cost of a plane ticket!The main expenses relate to purchasing petrol (see separate article on fuel price increase) and paying tolls, not to mention stopping off on the way for refreshments.

The Finance Agency which carried out the study, together with the Portuguese Commercial Automobile Association, also looked at the most and least economic vehicles available on the market.

In the first quarter of 2005, the French firm Renault sold the most cars in the economic sector. However, its 3.5 litre V6 Grand Espace Initiale will guzzle 17.5 litres in urban areas, 9.5 litres on the motorway and 12.4 litres on single and dual carriageways approaching urban areas between Oporto and the Algarve, costing 133.83 euros. Adding 71 euros for tolls, this brings the price of the trip up to 204 euros. A round trip between Albufeira and Lisbon via the A2 will set you back 62 euros in this vehicle on fuel alone. Add the cost of tolls the cost rises to 100 euros.

According to the study, the most economical cars are the Honda Insight IMA (two door), Toyota Prius Hybrid Synergy Drive (four door), Opel Corsa First 1.3 CDTI Easytronic (three doors). The most economic diesel vehicles were: Volkswagen Lupo 1.2 TDI3 (three door), Smart City Coupé Pure CDI (Softtouch) (two door), and Citroen C2 1.4 HDI (three door).