Executive Summary

This report provides detailed information on average emissions from new passenger and light commercial vehicles in Australia for 2011 and 2012. The unit for carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles is 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 (ALP 2010). The government is currently assessing how these standards might be implemented. The data in this paper are 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 a detailed emissions breakdown by vehicle make, vehicle segment and buyer type. New-vehicle emissions depend on many factors including consumer preference, vehicle price and fuel price, as well as emissions performance of high-volume selling vehicles.

Key findings

  • In 2012, the national average carbon emissions from new passenger and light commercial vehicles was 199 g/km. This is a 4 per cent reduction from 2011 and is the second highest annual reduction since records started in 2002.
  • If Australians had purchased new vehicles with best-in-class emissions during 2012, the national average would be 40 per cent lower (119 g/km).
  • In Australia during 2012, new vehicles bought by private buyers had the lowest average emissions (191 g/km), followed by new vehicles of business buyers (206 g/km) and then new vehicles of government buyers (212 g/km).
  • In 2012, 15 manufacturers sold 92 per cent of the new vehicles in Australia. Of these manufacturers, Suzuki had the lowest average corporate emissions (157 g/km) and Jeep had the highest average corporate emissions (240 g/km).
  • In 2012, the average emissions from Australian-made vehicles was 210 g/km. This is a 9 per cent reduction from 2011.
  • In 2011, Australia’s carbon emissions from new passenger vehicles was 46 per cent higher than in the European Union (198 g/km compared with 136 g/km). There are a number of reasons for these differences (e.g. fuel prices and consumer preferences).
  • Using the Government of Sweden’s definition of ‘green’ car (i.e. a vehicle that does not exceed 120 g/km), 1.2 per cent of total car sales in Australia were ‘green’ cars during 2012 (compared with 0.8 per cent in 2011).