Volvo C30More than 1.3m motorists have been forced off the road over the last 12 months by rising motoring costs, according to a new report.

The survey said drivers spend more than £1,720 a year fuelling their cars, an increase of 23 per cent year-on-year.

And the findings by Sainsbury’s said a 30 per cent increase in insurance premiums has delivered a double-whammy leading to one in 30 drivers has giving up their car.

Auto Trader’s used car editor, Stuart Milne said: “Cars are becoming more and more efficient, and there are now plenty of affordable cars available on the used market that can cover more than 60mpg.

“If you buy a car that emits under 100g/km of CO2, there’s no road tax to pay. Emissions of up to 110g/km attract a tax rate of just £20 per year, while anything up to 120g/km is liable to a £30 tax disc.

Check out our top 10 fuel-efficient cars and let us know what you think by talking to us on Twitter

And don’t forget to read our top tips for buying the right car at the best price.

SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive, from £6,000 – 99g/km, 88mpg

SEAT IbizaFor a car that arrived as far back as 2007, the last-generation Ibiza still looks amazingly fresh. It’s still great to drive too, its 1.4-litre diesel engine giving a 100mph top speed.

One of the first eco specials available to British buyers, the Ibiza is the cheapest conventionally powered green car around and is available in three or five-door forms.

Despite its green credentials and affordability, standard equipment includes air-con, CD/tuner, electric front windows and a multi-function steering wheel.

Read Seat Ibiza expert reviews and owner reviews

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smart fortwo CDi, from £7,000 – 99g/km, 74mpg

smart fortwoThe smart is one of those cars you either love or hate. For city dwellers it makes perfect sense as it’s easy to park, nippy and the standard automatic transmission makes light work of all those traffic jams.

However, there’s seating for just two and while there’s plenty of space for occupants, there’s very little in the way of luggage capacity.

The good news though is that you don’t have to have a closed smart fortwo – you can also buy an open-topped edition from £8,500.

Read smart fortwo expert reviews and owner reviews

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Toyota iQ, from £7,000 – 99g/km, 66mpg

Toyota iQOne of the few cars that comes close to the smart’s tiny size, the iQ is just 2985mm between bumpers, compared with the fortwo’s 2695mm length.

However, unlike the smart, the iQ offers seating for four, although it’s very tight. You’re better off limiting it to two adults and maybe a child in the back.

A premium small car, the iQ is beautifully built, well-equipped and very good to drive. One of its most impressive aspects is its comfortable ride – for such a short car, it’s amazing.

Read Toyota iQ expert reviews and owner reviews

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Skoda Fabia Greenline, from £7,500 – 89g/km, 83mpg

Skoda FabiaEven now some people see Skoda as an inferior brand, but the Fabia is proof that this division of the Volkswagen Group creates some of the best cars around.

Closely related to the Volkswagen Polo, the Fabia is good to drive, spacious, comfortable and very reliable. Some of the cabin plastics are on the cheap side though.

If you’re looking for a cheap, green estate, the Fabia could be just the ticket – it’s one of only two load luggers in this list, and easily the most affordable of the pair, with prices starting at £8,500.

Read Skoda Fabia expert reviews and owner reviews

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Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion, from £7,500 – 99g/km, 74mpg

Volkswagen PoloThe first-generation Polo BlueMotion is very clearly an eco special, with its aerodynamic grille, although Volkswagen stopped short of giving the car flush wheel covers, so there are stylish alloys instead.

BlueMotion buyers got a choice of three or five-door hatchback models when the car arrived late in 2007. There was also a choice of two trim levels, called simply 1 or 2.

With a top speed of 109mph and a 0-62mph time of 12.8 seconds, the BlueMotion is no fireball, but it’s perfectly capable of keeping up with traffic.

Read Volkswagen Polo expert reviews and owner reviews

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Ford Fiesta ECOnetic, from £9,000 – 98g/km, 76mpg

Ford FiestaIf you’re a driving enthusiast and you want to go green, the ECOnetic should be just the thing you’re looking for, as it’s superb to drive and one of the quickest cars here.

With a 1.6-litre diesel engine under the bonnet, there’s 94bhp on tap along with 150lb/ft of pulling power – enough to give 0-62mph in 12.3 seconds and a 111mph top speed, so it feels quite sporty for something so green.

There’s just the one trim level, but you can opt for three doors or five. Standard equipment includes electric front windows, air-con and electronic stability programme (ESP).

Read Ford Fiesta expert reviews and owner reviews

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Volvo C30 1.6 DRIVe, from £12,000 – 99g/km, 74mpg

Volvo C30While some green cars feel rather flimsy because of their lightweight construction, there are no such concerns with the Volvo C30, which feels very solid.

The C30 is also seriously stylish and rather unusual as it’s always been a niche seller in the UK, partly because of its small boot and four-occupant limit.

Powered by a 1.6-litre diesel engine, early versions of the DRIVe emitted 115g/km of CO2 – you need to buy the facelifted car, with stop and start, to dip below the 100g/km threshold.

Read Volvo C30 expert reviews and owner reviews

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MINI hatchback diesel, from £14,500 – 99g/km, 74mpg

MINI hatchbackWhen it comes to cast-iron reputations, few can compete with the MINI. Solidly built, fun to drive and capable of holding its value like few other cars, it’s a great used buy.

In diesel hatchback form the MINI is as good as the petrol edition, but thanks to BMW’s Efficient Dynamics technology, the CO2 emissions are cut to just 99g/km.

Unfortunately, the 99g versions of the One and Cooper arrived in showrooms only within the last few months, and with MINI used values often matching new, you won’t buy much for anything under £15,000.

Read MINI hatchback expert reviews and owner reviews

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Volvo S40 1.6DRIVe, from £19,000 – 99g/km, 74mpg

Volvo S40Offering all of the benefits of the C30, but wrapped in a saloon bodyshell instead of a hatchback, the S40 uses the same engine and running gear.

However, while early editions of the S40 DRIVe emitted 104g/km of CO2, examples built from October 2010 cut this to just 99g/km.

Safe, stylish, comfortable and refined, the S40 has proved a hit with fleet drivers. Early examples of the S40 DRIVe can be bought from £12,000, but the 99g/km version costs from £18,000.

Read Volvo S40 expert reviews and owner reviews

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Volvo V50 1.6DRIVe, from £20,000 – 99g/km, 74mpg

Volvo V50As an estate version of the S40, the Volvo V50 offers even more practicality than its saloon sibling while still offering comfort, refinement and safety.

Just as with the S40 however, you need to buy one of the most recent examples to get below that 100g/km limit, so the car will need to be just a few months old.

As most of these cars are bought by fleets as company cars, few have yet come onto the used market. If you can find one, expect to pay from £20,000, with higher-spec cars even more costly.

Read Volvo V50 expert reviews and owner reviews

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