Briefing paper

Carbon dioxide emissions intensity for new Australian light vehicles 2018

Motor vehicles Carbon emissions Emission reduction Australia

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 influence and fuel prices.

Key findings:

In 2018 the national average carbon dioxide emissions intensity from new passenger and light commercial vehicles was 180.9 g/km. This is a 0.4 per cent improvement from 2017. This is the second lowest annual improvement 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 2018 had purchased vehicles with best-in-class emissions, the national average carbon dioxide emissions intensity would have been reduced to 73 g/km, a 60 per cent reduction.

About 91 per cent of all new vehicle sales in 2018 were from 15 makes. Of these 15 makes, Audi had the lowest corporate average emissions intensity (148 g/km), and Ford had the highest (216 g/km).

Private buyers purchased vehicles with the lowest average emissions intensity (174 g/km) in 2018, followed by business buyers (186 g/km) and government buyers (195 g/km).

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