How do green cars get their ratings?
The demand for green cars is rapidly increasing in Australia and worldwide, with consumers looking to save money on fuel and reduce their impact on the environment.
Australia’s vehicle emission standards have been progressively tightened since their introduction in the early 1970s. In 2004, the Australian Government released the Green Vehicle Guide, which provides information about the environmental performance of new passenger and light commercial vehicles (up to 3.5 tonnes).
The Green Vehicle Guide features a ratings system based on greenhouse and air pollution emissions, making it easy for consumers to quickly determine the greenest cars available for purchase in Australia and select their ideal green car solution.
Each new car receives a rating based on testing conducted by the manufacturer in accordance with Australian standards. Vehicles are given a Greenhouse Rating, an Air Pollution Rating, as well as an Overall Star Rating.
The Greenhouse Rating is based on carbon dioxide emissions, taking into account the vehicle’s contribution to the greenhouse effect and climate change. Cars producing the least emissions, such as Australia’s greenest car, the Toyota Prius, receive 10 out of 10 rating.
A vehicle’s Air Pollution Rating is determined by its carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions - all major contributors to urban air pollution. The highest scores out of 10 are awarded to the cars with the lowest emissions.
The Overall Star Rating is a sum of these ratings. The Greenhouse and Air Pollution ratings are combined with equal weighting to calculate a Green Vehicle Guide score out of 20. Cars with a score above 16 receive a five-star rating, while cars with scores of less than five are given only one star.
Some of Australia’s greenest car models include the Toyota Prius, the Volkswagen Golf Comfortline and the Honda Jazz Gli.
Another helpful tool for researching Australia’s greenest cars is the Fuel Consumption Label, now mandatory on all new light vehicles. The Fuel Consumption Label appears on the front windscreen of all new vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes, and displays the car’s fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The lower the numbers, the greener the car.
If protecting the environment and saving money on fuel is important to you, make sure you’ve investigated all the green car options before you buy your new car.