Purchase Energy Efficient vehicles

Vehicle manufacturers have improved engine efficiency, aerodynamics and hybrid technology resulting in huge gains in vehicle efficiency. Replacing your business cars and trucks with most efficient vehicle available will immediately cut your fuel bills.

Most SMEs require cars and trucks in order to carry out their business. The efficiency of this fleet is an ongoing cost.

The new breed of efficient vehicles and hybrids have increased fuel efficiency by a significant margin, and with electric vehicles we have cars and trucks capable of zero net carbon emissions when charged with renewable electricity. This new generation of fuel-efficient vehicles means that when old cars and trucks are being replaced, they can be replaced with more efficient alternatives that will deliver ongoing savings in their daily operation.

As one of the major investments for many businesses, car efficiency also means lower running costs, better insurance rates and even 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 you create.

Buying a new efficient car

Fuel efficient cars have a number of benefits:

  • They produce fewer CO2 emissions, lowering their impact on the environment and contribution to climate change.
  • They consume less fuel and are less expensive to run. With peak oil, carbon taxes, and climate change concerns pushing the price of fuel up, the savings derived from increased fuel efficiency will only increase.
  • They highlight and focus the economy and community on the value of our efficient use of energy.

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 ConsumptionAnnual CO2 EmissionsPetrol cost per 15,000KM (@$1.50 per litre) – 10 yearsAdditional cost (VS most efficient)
6 L/100km2,070 kg$13,500$0
8 L/100km2,760 kg$18,000$4,500
10 L/100km3,450 kg$22,500$9,000
12 L/100km4,140 kg$27,000$13,500
NOTE: Based on 15,000 kilometres annually

The Green Vehicle Guide rates new Australian vehicles based on greenhouse 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 $225 a year. This is based on the motorist travelling 15,000 kilometres during the year with petrol costing $1.50 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 Green Vehicle Guide’s fuel calculator to find our what your car 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 TypeCO2 Emissions
Petrol2.3 kg
LPG1.6 kg
Diesel2.7 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 fuel 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. The most likely successor is the electric car, which is becoming increasingly 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 is an emissions-free solution that is cheaper to run than fossil fuel varieties.

Some of the issues to consider with electric cars 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 (does the power from burning coal or from renewable sources?)
  • 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?

Mitsubishi, Honda, Toyota, Nissan and many other car manufacturers are rolling out electric cars. 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
  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


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Additional resources

Why is this action important?

Sustainable living guide