My Green Life

Purchase energy efficient vehicles

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Vehicle manufacturers are continually improving engine efficiency, aerodynamics, and hybrid technology resulting in huge gains in vehicle efficiency. So as you replace your business cars and trucks, invest in the most efficient vehicle available and immediately cut your fuel bills.

Most SMEs require cars and trucks in order to carry out their business. The efficiency of this fleet has a significant effect on business costs.

The new breed of efficient vehicles and hybrids have increased fuel efficiency by a significant margins. As more electric vehicles  emerge onto the market and charging stations become more widespread, the cost-benefit to business will continue to improve.

As one of the major investments for many businesses, improved vehicle efficiency also means lower running costs, better insurance rates, and even the potential for lower cost green vehicle loans.

How to do it now!

The efficiency of the vehicle (design, engine, weight, etc) determines the fuel consumption and the amount of greenhouse gases and airborne pollution released per kilometre, so there are many factors to consider when aiming to reduce the emissions your fleet creates.

Buying a new efficient car, van or ute.

Fuel efficient cars have a number of benefits:

  • They produce fewer CO2 emissions, reducing both their impact on the environment and their contribution to climate change;
  • They consume less fuel and are less expensive to run. With fuel price rises expected to continue, the savings derived from improved fuel efficiency are likely to increase; and
  • They highlight and focus the economy and community on the value of our efficient use of resources.

As the following table demonstrates, an efficient car reduces both your annual CO2 emissions and the amount of money you pump into your car at the petrol bowser.

CO2 Tailpipe Emissions from Petrol VehiclesCosts and Dollar Savings from Efficient Fuel Consumption
Fuel Consumption Annual CO2 Emissions Petrol cost per 15,000KM (@$1.50 per litre) - 10 years Additional cost (VS most efficient)
6 L/100km 2,070 kg $13,500 $0
8 L/100km 2,760 kg $18,000 $4,500
10 L/100km 3,450 kg $22,500 $9,000
12 L/100km 4,140 kg $27,000 $13,500
NOTE: Based on 15,000 kilometres annually


The Green Vehicle Guide rates new Australian vehicles based on greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions. Anyone buying a car can use the guide to identify the vehicle which best meets their needs as well as one that reduces the impact on climate change and urban air quality.

You can use the Fuel Consumption Label on new vehicles to compare the fuel consumption of different vehicles and estimate how much it will cost to run various models and makes.

To give an indication of potential savings, a difference in fuel consumption of just one litre per 100 kilometres will cost the average motorist about $195 a year. This is based on the motorist travelling 15,000 kilometres during the year with petrol costing $1.30 per litre. If the price of fuel per litre increases by 10 cents, the difference in annual fuel costs increases by $15.

Emissions from different fuels

Click on the Federal Government's greenhouse gas emissions calculator to find out what your fleet is costing you and the environment.

Fuels differ in the amount of carbon and energy they contain as well as other characteristics, with implications for fuel economy and greenhouse emissions. The table below lists the amount of CO2 emitted from the exhaust for each litre of a particular fuel covered by the calculator.

CO2 Tailpipe Emissions from Petrol VehiclesCO2 Tailpipe Emissions/Litre of Fuel Consumed
Fuel Type CO2 Emissions
Petrol 2.3 kg
LPG 1.6 kg
Diesel 2.7 kg


The reason the weight of CO2 emissions is greater than the weight of fuel is because of the addition of oxygen from the atmosphere to the fuel during combustion to form CO2.

It’s also important to know how much fuel is consumed to travel a given distance. LPG has lower greenhouse emissions per litre of fuel consumed than petrol, but also has a lower energy content. Therefore equivalent vehicles tend to consume more of LPG than petrol to travel a given distance. In the case of diesel, its greenhouse emissions per litre are higher than petrol, but engines designed to operate on diesel tend to be far more fuel-efficient than petrol engines. To be sure that one vehicle has lower greenhouse emissions than another use the Greenhouse gas emissions calculator.

Hybrid Cars

A new generation of hybrid car technology is combining electric engine and battery technology with super efficient combustion engines to further reduce emissions and increase the effectiveness of hybrid vehicles. New hybrids are planned to go on sale in Australia in the next few years.

Electric cars

In the push to reduce our carbon emissions, the combustion of fossil fuels will eventually focus on a new way to power our cars. One to look out for in the future is the electric car which is starting to become popular. They are fuelled by charging electric batteries or by using Hydrogen as a fuel and converting the hydrogen to electric power via a fuel cell.

Combined with renewable electricity, an electric car can be an emissions-free solution that is cheaper to run than fossil fuel varieties.

Before deciding to purchase an electric car, some of the issues you should consider include:

  • the distance the car will travel before requiring the batteries to be recharged;
  • the availability of quick recharging stations;
  • the environmental cost of their construction;
  • the source of the electricity used to charge (is the power sourced from burning coal or from renewable sources?); and 
  • evolution speed of the electric car technology - how quickly will the technology change and evolve and when is the best time to purchase an electric car?

Many car manufacturers will be rolling out electric cars over the next few years. To stay informed visit EV World.

Buying a new efficient truck

The Truck Buyers Guide provides a step by step guide to selecting a small rigid truck (i.e. gross vehicle mass of 3.5 – 12 tonnes). The guide takes you through the following five steps:

  1. Think about your needs
    • Understand the type of load you need to carry
    • Think about how much you need to carry - average, high and low weights.
    • Think about the types of roads will you drive on
    • Understand how much fuel you currently use
  2. Look at purchasing options
    • Understand which purchasing option is best for you outright purchase or leasing, new or used
  3. Choosing your truck
    • Have a general understanding of the options available for key vehicle components and how they will affect your vehicle and its operation
      • Chassis
      • Engine
      • Fuel type
      • Transmission
      • Body
      • Cab
      • Tyres
    • Build up the vehicle to match your delivery needs
  4. Compare the costs
    • Develop a short list of options and compare costs between them
    • Consider likely maintenance costs and potential resale values
  5. Explore other options for saving fuel
    • Consider other factors which could impact on the amount of fuel you use in your operation
      • aerodynamic features,
      • IT systems,
      • ancillary equipment,
      • Fuel efficient driver training and idling reduction
      • Other less obvious options

Source: Truck buyers Guide – checklist

Additional resources

Why is this action important?

Transportation vehicles produce most of the key chemicals that pollute the air, causing smog and health problems. Global warming is also related to automotive exhaust emissions.

We can all do our bit to help reduce climate change by purchasing a vehicle with higher fuel economy and being aware of how to drive our cars efficiently.

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