Carbon dioxide emissions intensity for new Australian light vehicles 2017

Motor vehicles Car industry Sector regulation Australia

This information paper provides detailed data on the carbon dioxide emissions intensity performance of new passenger and light commercial vehicles sold in Australia during 2017. The data is broken down by vehicle make, model, segment, fuel and buyer type.

This report focuses on vehicle emissions performance, measured in terms of grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre (g/km). This is a measure of vehicle efficiency or intensity rather than a measure of actual vehicle emissions, which depends on many factors such as distance travelled, the nature of the driving, and road and traffic conditions.

Fleet-wide vehicle emissions depend on many factors including consumer preference (for example, vehicle type, engine size and power, fuel type and transmission type). Consumer preferences can also be influenced by government policies and regulations, industry marketing and promotions and fuel prices.

Key findings

  • In 2017 the national average carbon dioxide emissions intensity from new passenger and light commercial vehicles was 181.7 g/km. This is a 0.3 per cent reduction from 2016. This is the lowest annual reduction since records started in 2002.
  • Consumer preferences are an important factor affecting the national average of carbon dioxide emissions intensity for new vehicles. If all Australians who purchased new vehicles in 2017 had purchased vehicles with best-in-class emissions, the national average carbon dioxide emissions intensity would have been reduced to 76 g/km, a 58 per cent reduction.
  • About 92 per cent of all new vehicle sales in 2017 were from 15 makes. Of these 15 makes, Audi had the lowest corporate average emissions intensity (145 g/km), and Holden had the highest (219 g/km).
  • Private buyers purchased vehicles with the lowest average emissions intensity (176 g/km), followed by business buyers (186 g/km) and government buyers (199 g/km).
  • There were 97 ‘green’ car models available in Australia in 2017 (compared with 51 in 2016), which represented 3.8 per cent of total sales (compared with 2.5 per cent in 2016). A ‘green’ car is defined as a vehicle with emissions intensity that does not exceed 120 g/km.
  • There were 2,424 electric vehicles sold in 2017 (compared to 1,369 in 2016) which is a 77 per cent increase from 2016.
  • The average emission intensity for new passenger vehicles in European countries was 118.5 g/km in 2017. In the same year, Australia’s average emissions intensity for passenger vehicles was 171.5 g/km, 45 per cent higher.
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