Roads / Environment / Light vehicle emissions

The NTC began reporting on the carbon dioxide emissions of new cars and light commercial vehicles in 2009, to provide a transparent benchmark for how Australia’s new car emissions performance is tracking.

Light vehicle emissions

The NTC began reports on the carbon dioxide emissions intensity of new cars and light commercial vehicle sales to provide a transparent benchmark for how Australia’s new car emission performance is tracking.

Key findings from our latest report:

  • In 2015 the national average carbon dioxide emissions intensity from new passenger and light commercial vehicles was 184 g/km. This is a 1.9 per cent reduction from 2014.
  • 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 2015 had purchased vehicles with best-in-class emissions, the national average carbon dioxide emissions intensity would have been reduced to 82 g/km, a 55 per cent reduction.
  • About 90 per cent of all new vehicle sales in 2015 were from 15 makes. Of these 15 makes, Audi and BMW had the lowest corporate average emissions intensity (149 g/km), and Jeep had the highest (223 g/km).
  • The average emissions intensity for all Australian-made vehicles was 208 g/km in 2015. This is a 1.1 per cent reduction when compared with 2014.
  • Private buyers purchased vehicles with the lowest average emissions intensity (178 g/km), followed by business buyers (190 g/km) and government buyers (204 g/km).
  • ‘Green’ cars made up 4.7 per cent of total sales in 2015, compared with 2.8 per cent in 2014. A ‘green’ car is defined as a vehicle that does not exceed 120 g/km.
  • The average emission intensity for new passenger vehicles in European countries was 124 g/km in 2014. In the same year, Australia’s average emissions intensity for passenger vehicles was 177 g/km, 43 per cent higher.
  • There are many reasons why Australian light vehicle emissions intensity are higher than in Europe. Some of the reasons include:
    • Australian consumer preferences for heavier vehicles with larger and more powerful engines, for example, SUV Medium, SUV Large and SUV Upper Large segments made up 30% of all passenger vehicle sales in 2014.
    • a lower proportion of diesel-powered engines
    • fewer government incentives for lower emissions vehicles
    • lower fuel prices.

This information is based on data provided by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries and published annually.

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Last Updated: 9/1/2017