Green car ratings reveal best and worst

Choosing the greenest model that meets your needs is good for the environment and your wallet.
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  • Updated:28 Jul 2006


Toyota Car

In brief

  • The government’s Green Vehicle Guide compares the emissions and fuel consumption of all new car models.
  • For each 10,000 km you drive, each L/100 km less fuel consumption saves you $130 (based on $1.30/L).

Why go green?

By taking the green rating into account when buying a new car, you can reduce your impact on the environment and save on your fuel costs.

Reducing environmental impact

  • Road traffic is a major cause of air pollution in urban areas, producing harmful substances such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons.
  • It’s also responsible for about 13% of Australia’s carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
  • In addition, diesel models emit particulate matter (tiny particles that can be inhaled).
  • Differences between the emission levels of new cars are significant — and not just between different car categories, but also between models within the same category.

Lowering fuel consumption

The amount of carbon dioxide a car produces is directly linked to the type of fuel it uses and its fuel consumption.
With fuel prices on the rise, a fuel-efficient model also means more money in your pocket: for every 10,000 km you drive, each L/100 km less fuel your car consumes than another model saves you $130 (based on a fuel price of $1.30).

How to choose a green model?

The government’s Green Vehicle Guide allows you to compare the environmental impact and fuel consumption of all new passenger and light commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes.

Each version of each model gets a star rating, with five stars being the best. The rating takes into account the car’s emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants. The website also tells you what type of fuel the car uses, and its fuel consumption.

Our tables show you the ratings for the best (4.5–5 stars) and worst (one star) performers, as well as for the 20 best-selling models on the market.

Fuel type differences

  • A litre of LPG contains less energy than a litre of petrol, so LPG consumption per 100 km is higher than petrol consumption for models that have LPG and petrol versions. However, it burns a lot cleaner than petrol, so emissions are lower.
  • On the other hand, diesel versions are usually more fuel-efficient than petrol versions of the same model. However, they produce particulate matter and higher levels of nitrogen oxides, so their air pollution rating is lower — the one-star list is entirely made up of diesel vehicles, mainly large 4WDs.

Image source: TOYOTA



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