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Ranking and Assessment

What is an environmentally friendly vehicle?

An environmentally friendly vehicle could be considered to be a vehicle with the lowest possible impact on the environment. In terms of greenhouse emissions, this is one with lower tailpipe CO2 emissions. In terms of air quality, this is one with a higher “Euro” level (see below).

To help consumers identify the most environmentally friendly vehicle for their needs, the Green Vehicle Guide ranks vehicles by tailpipe CO2 emissions. The highest ranked vehicle will be the vehicle with the lowest CO2 emissions

How are vehicles ranked on the GVG website?

Vehicles are primarily ranked in order of tailpipe CO2 emissions. In the first instance, the combined test results from the ADR 81/02 test are used. Where more than one vehicle has the same result, their urban and extra urban CO2 results (in that order) may be used to separate them.

Where these results are equal (such as in the case of pure electric vehicles), energy consumption (lowest to highest), electric range (highest to lowest), air pollution standard (highest to lowest), fuel consumption (lowest to highest), stationary noise (lowest to highest) and alphabetical order may be used to separate vehicles (in this order).

Why are tailpipe CO2 emissions used to rank vehicles? Aren’t there other emissions that are harmful to the environment and our health?

Yes there are other vehicle emissions harmful to our health, however the introduction of more stringent minimum air pollutant emission standards has significantly reduced the differences in air pollutant emissions between vehicles. As a result tailpipe CO2 emissions are now the main point of difference in the environmental performance of new vehicles.

To further assist users with an interest in reducing their impact on air quality, particularly urban air quality, the GVG provides information on the air pollution standard that each vehicle is certified to in Australia.

The Euro level listed on the GVG indicates the air pollution standard that the vehicle is certified to in Australia. These standards regulate emissions that cause smog and impact on human health rather than greenhouse gas emissions, such as CO2. A higher Euro level indicates that a vehicle meets more stringent requirements for that fuel type.

While the ADRs, which all vehicles must comply with before they can be sold in the Australian market, specify minimum standards, many vehicles meet more stringent requirements.

GVG Data

Where does the data for the Green Vehicle Guide come from? Is it reliable?

The data for the Green Vehicle Guide is supplied by authorised representatives of vehicle manufacturers. It is sourced from the certification data required by Australia’s emissions standards and fuel consumption labelling standards (ADRs 79 and 81/02 respectively).

The Department verifies the data supplied by cross-checking it against certification data for the relevant ADRs. Evidence submitted to demonstrate compliance to the ADRs is subject to audit by the Department.

I have noticed a label on the windscreens of new cars with fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions information. Is this the same information provided in the Green Vehicle Guide?

Yes it is. The Green Vehicle Guide results for fuel consumption and tailpipe CO2 emissions are based on the same test data displayed on the Fuel Consumption Label. The Green Vehicle Guide also provides information on urban and extra urban CO2, the air pollution standard a vehicle is certified to, estimates of fuel lifecycle CO2 emissions, annual fuel costs and tailpipe CO2 emissions and stationary noise.

The current fuel consumption label which was mandated for new vehicles from October 2008, displays combined, urban and extra-urban fuel consumption. The 'urban' figure is likely to provide a more accurate representation of fuel consumption in city driving than the combined figure. This new information is also reflected in the Green Vehicle Guide. For more information on the revised label see the Fuel Consumption Label page.

I have bought one of the models listed in the guide, but I am not getting the same fuel consumption as stated in the Guide. Why?

The results displayed in the Green Vehicle Guide are based on a laboratory test involving a standardised drive cycle to allow different vehicle models to be compared equally. However, no laboratory test can simulate all possible combinations of conditions experienced on the road. Real world emissions and fuel consumption may vary from the results provided in the GVG depending upon a number of factors including driving and road conditions, driver behaviour and the condition of the vehicle. For more information on the testing procedures see the Fuel Consumption Label page.

While you may not have much control over some factors such as traffic conditions, you do have control over others, such as how you drive and how well your car is maintained. The GVG's tips for greener motoring provide some advice on how you can help minimise fuel consumption and emissions.

Why do LPG models have lower CO2 emissions than the equivalent petrol model, even though their fuel consumption is higher?

The amount of CO2 emitted when a litre of fuel is burned differs depending on the type of fuel. A vehicle using LPG will have higher fuel consumption (in L/100km) than the same vehicle using petrol, due to differences in the energy content of LPG and petrol. However, when a litre of LPG is used by a vehicle, the CO2 emissions from the exhaust is significantly lower than that for a litre of petrol, because of the lower proportion of carbon in LPG relative to petrol.

Why do electric vehicles report zero CO2 emissions? What about emissions produced from the generation process?

ADR 81/02 only measures tailpipe CO2 emissions. Pure electric vehicles do not produce any tailpipe emissions and therefore report a zero result on the ADR test. To help users estimate their CO2 emissions from electricity produced to power their vehicle, we provide estimates of fuel lifecycle emissions based on an electric vehicle’s energy consumption and production factors from the National Greenhouse Accounts.

Lifecycle Emissions

What are fuel lifecycle emissions? Where do these estimates come from?

Fuel lifecycle emissions cover emissions from both the production and combustion of transport fuels.

In addition to emissions produced from the combustion of fuel to power an internal combustion engine, emissions can also be produced in the process of extracting, refining and transporting fuels. These include emissions from the generation of electricity for electric vehicles.

These estimates are based on factors from the National Greenhouse Accounts. As the emissions intensity of electricity production varies from state to state, different emission factors applied to electricity for each state and territory.

Noxious Emissions

What does the Euro level mean?

The Euro level indicates the air pollution standard that the vehicle is certified to in Australia. These standards regulate emissions that cause smog and impact on human health rather than greenhouse gas emissions, such as CO2. A higher Euro level indicates that a vehicle meets more stringent requirements for that fuel type.

While the ADRs, to which all vehicles must comply with before they can be offered to the Australian market for use in transport, specify minimum standards, many vehicles offered to the Australian market meet more stringent requirements.

If you live in a major city, you can minimise the air quality impact of your vehicle by choosing a vehicle that meets Euro 5 or higher standards.

There are some imported models that are reported as meeting a lower air pollution standard than I would have expected. Why?

The air pollution standard reported on the GVG is based on the emission standard to which the manufacturer has chosen to certify the version of the vehicle supplied to the Australian market. In some cases, the model supplied to the Australian market may not comply with the more advanced international standards, and thus has been certified to the minimum standard required in Australia. There might also be cases where the overseas model and the one supplied to the Australian market are identical, but the manufacturer has only chosen to certify the vehicle to the minimum standard required in Australia. While this approach would result in a lower standard being reported on the GVG website it is the manufacturer's choice to certify a vehicle to the minimum standard only.

Fuel Cost and CO2 Estimates

How are the estimates for annual fuel costs, tailpipe CO2 and fuel lifecycle CO2 emissions determined? Can I customise these estimates to better reflect my circumstances?

For petrol, diesel and LPG vehicles, default annual fuel cost and CO2 estimates are based on a vehicle travelling 14,000 km per annum, with 66 per cent of travel in urban driving conditions.

For electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, annual fuel cost and fuel lifecycle CO2 estimates are based on the vehicle’s energy consumption.

To help determine the most appropriate default estimates, the Department considers data from a variety of sources, including the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Office of the Chief Economist - Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, the Australian Energy Market Commission and the Australian Institute of Petroleum, Orima Research, Motormouth and Informed Sources.

The estimates for fuel lifecycle emissions are based on national average emission factors from the National Greenhouse Accounts.

These results may not reflect your individual circumstances, as fuel prices, travel needs and lifecycle emission factors for electricity production can vary significantly. To customise your annual fuel costs, tailpipe CO2 emissions and fuel lifecycle emissions, please click on the ‘Annual Fuel Costs and CO2 emissions calculator’ in the advanced options tool at the top right of the search results page.

Vehicles not listed on the GVG

Is environmental information available for used or earlier model vehicles?

The Green Vehicle Guide can provide information on the environmental performance of new vehicles sold in Australia since 2004, when the Guide was first established.

For vehicles older than this, fuel consumption data can be used as a broad indicator of the level of greenhouse gas emissions (mostly CO2) from a vehicle. While this is a good indicator for vehicles using the same fuel, any comparison of vehicles using different fuels has to take into account the difference in greenhouse gas emissions from different fuels. Fuel consumption data for 1986 - 2003 vehicle models is available from the earlier Fuel Consumption Guide website. There is also a facility provided on the Fuel Consumption Guide website to calculate greenhouse gas emissions and annual fuel costs based on vehicles’ fuel consumption.

Information on air pollution standards for older motor vehicles can be found in the Vehicles and Environment section of the Department’s website.

Why are motorcycles and scooters not listed on the Green Vehicle Guide?

The vehicle data on the Green Vehicle Guide is sourced from the certification information vehicle manufacturers must provide to demonstrate their vehicle/s compliance with the Australian Design Rules (ADRs), before the vehicles are allowed to be sold in Australia.

Motorcycles and scooters are not included in the Green Vehicle Guide because information on their fuel consumption and emissions performance is not available.

Where can I find information on the environmental performance of heavy vehicles?

Data for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) is not available on the Green Vehicle Guide website, as these vehicles are not required to report on their fuel consumption or CO2 emissions under the ADRs.

General information to help consumers purchase a more environmentally friendly heavy vehicle can be accessed at www.truckbuyersguide.gov.au

Vehicle Safety Information

Where can I find information on the safety performance of vehicles listed on the Green Vehicle Guide?

The Green Vehicle Guide provides information on the environmental performance of vehicles sold in Australia.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) provides consumers with transparent information on the level of occupant and pedestrian protection and collision avoidance capabilities provided by different vehicle models in the most common types of serious crashes through its star rating program.

ANCAP safety ratings are determined based on a series of internationally recognised crash tests and technology assessments, with vehicles awarded an ANCAP safety rating of between 1 to 5 stars indicating the level of safety they provide in the event of a crash as well as their ability, through technology, to avoid a crash.

ANCAP is supported by the Australian and New Zealand automobile clubs, the Australian Government, state and territory governments, the New Zealand Government, the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, NRMA Insurance and the FIA Foundation (UK).

For further information, please see the linked brochure or visit www.ancap.com.au.

I am an authorised vehicle manufacturer representative. How do I provide data to the Green Vehicle Guide website?

You will need to register for an account. To register for an account, please send your credentials by email to gvg@infrastructure.gov.au. The Department’s Green Vehicle Guide administrators can then issue you with a user id, which can then be used to submit data to the GVG.

Third Party use of GVG Data

Is there a service to which I can subscribe to obtain data from the GVG for business or research purposes?

The Department offers a ‘Third Party Webservice’ for those who wish to use GVG data for business or research purposes. You will need to agree to the Department’s Third Party User License Agreement to gain access to this service. To request access to the Third Party Webservice please email gvg@infrastructure.gov.au.