01.Green vehicle guide
The guide gives each model an overall star rating: the more stars, the lower the environmental impact, five stars being the maximum. The overall rating consists of equally weighted greenhouse and air pollution scores.
Greenhouse rating: The carbon dioxide produced by cars contributes about 8% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The rating uses measured data from the mandatory fuel consumption label, which has to be displayed on all new cars in showrooms. It’s comparative rather than actual, being based on a standard driving cycle, and takes into account the fuel consumption and the type of fuel used.
Air pollution rating: Car exhaust fumes contain pollutants such as carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and hydrocarbons. In addition, diesel vehicles emit particles that are also pollutants. Cars are a major contributor to urban air-quality problems such as photochemical smog. Some of the pollutants may also cause health problems.
The rating is based on the emission standard the car is certified to. Every model sold in Australia has to be certified to the current emission control standard here. However, more stringent standards are in place overseas (and will come into effect here in future), and manufacturers may choose to have their models certified according to those standards if they meet the lower emission limits. This results in a higher score in the green vehicle rating. The emission standards take into account the car’s weight, the fuel type, and whether it’s a passenger or goods-carrying vehicle.
Please note: this information was current as of May 2008 but is still a useful guide to today's market.
How green's your car?
Check out the Green Vehicle Guide online.
There are good and bad environmental performers in each category. So once you’ve decided on the type of car that best meets your needs, you can use the database to pick one of the greener models in that category.
Currently, three models have scored five stars overall:
- Toyota Prius
- Fiat Punto
- Citroen C3