Executive Summary

This report provides detailed information on average emissions from new passenger and light commercial vehicles in Australia. The units for carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles are grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre (g/km). The Australian government has announced that it will introduce mandatory carbon dioxide standards for new passenger and light commercial vehicles by 2015 (Australian Labor Party 2010). The government is currently assessing how these standards might be implemented. The data in this paper is presented as additional information that might inform this assessment. The paper provides a benchmark for carbon dioxide emissions for new passenger and light commercial vehicles. It includes detailed emissions breakdown by make, vehicle segment and buyer type. New-vehicle emissions depend on many factors including consumer preference, the emissions performance of high volume selling vehicles, vehicle price and fuel price.

Key Findings

  • In 2010, the national average carbon emissions from new passenger and light commercial vehicles was 212.6 g/km. This is a 2.7% reduction from 2009.
  • If Australians had purchased new vehicles with best-in-class emissions during 2010, the national average would be 135 g/km (36% lower).
  • In Australia during 2010, new private vehicles had the lowest average emissions (202 g/km), followed by new business vehicles (222 g/km) and then new government vehicles (225 g/km).
  • In 2010, fifteen manufacturers sold 94% of new vehicles in Australia. Of these manufacturers, Volkswagen had the lowest average emissions (175 g/km) and Ford the highest average emissions (237 g/km).
  • In 2010, the average emissions from Australian-made vehicles was 247 g/km. This is a 4.7% reduction from 2009.
  • In 2009, Australia’s carbon emissions from new passenger vehicles were 44% higher than in the European Union (210 g/km compared to 146 g/km). This is due to factors such as fuel prices and consumer preferences.
  • Using the Swedish government’s definition of “green” car (a vehicle that does not exceed 120g/km), 0.6% of total car sales in Australia were “green” cars during 2010. This proportion is slightly lower
    than the 0.7% recorded in 2009.