What are the greenest cars?

LEAF: The  Nissan Leaf charged from solar electricity is a clear winner

LEAF: The Nissan Leaf charged from solar electricity is a clear winner

What are the greenest cars if you take into account the environmental costs for building the vehicles and for distributing the fuel?

Lindsay Wilson on Renew Economy has analysed the top 8 technologies, using the Nissan Leaf as the EV for comparison.  As you might expect, the Leaf charged from solar electricity is a clear winner (and you could substitute wind, hydro or other low carbon source), at 79 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilometre (79 g CO2e/km). However the ranking from then on is not what you might expect.

The next best is an EV charged from gas fired electricity at 160 g/km but followed closely by a petrol vehicle achieving 4.7 L/100 km fuel consumption for overall emissions of 170 g/km. There are several small petrol or diesel cars available, and hybrids, that achieve this figure or better.

After that we find a petrol vehicle at 5.9 L/100 km and 203 g/km, then an EV charged by oil-fired electricity at 217 g/km, followed by petrol car achieving 7.8 L/100 km and 257 g/km, an EV charged from coal-fired electricity at 259 g/km and finally a petrol vehicle doing 11.8 L/100 km and 366 g/km.

So the “order of merit” is:

Vehicle/fuel Fuel consumption L/100 km Emissions grams CO2 equivalent
EV charged by renewable electricity N/A 79
EV charged by gas fired electricity N/A 160
Petrol car (eg Fiat Panda) 4.7 170
Petrol car (eg Peugeot 2008) 5.9 203
EV charged by oil fired electricity N/A 217
Petrol car (eg Honda Odyssey) 7.8 257
EV charged by coal fired electricity N/A 259
Petrol car (eg Jeep Wrangler) 11.8 366

What do you think? Do you think electric cars are going to be the low carbon vehicles of the future?  How about next-gen biofuels or hydrogen fuel cells?

Special report: we could run out of petrol, prescribed medication and refrigerated food in a week

A new report released by NRMA Motoring & Services has shown Australia’s reliance on imported transport fuel has increased from 60 per cent in 2000 to 91 per cent in 2013. This means that communities like Dubbo could run out of petrol, prescribed medication and refrigerated and frozen food in a week if tankers stopped entering Australian ports tomorrow. Scary, isn’t it.

This week NRMA released a new report that addresses an issue that could affect the entire nation: Australia’s fuel security. The report, which is the second in a series commissioned by NRMA Motoring & Services and authored by John Blackburn AO, highlights the need to reduce Australia’s reliance on imported transport fuel. The NRMA’s Western NSW director Graham Blight is calling on the Federal Government to move on reducing this reliance that has jumped from 60 per cent to 91 per cent between 2000 and 2013.

“We do not want to scare people with our report, but facts are facts,” Mr Blight said.


The new report warns that if supply of imported fuel was disrupted, Australian petrol stations would run dry after three days. After seven days pharmacies would cease dispensing drugs and supermarkets’ cold storage would be empty. The report also highlights that Australia is the only member of the International Energy Association that does not meet its 90-day fuel stock obligation.

Safeguarding Australia’s fuel security is an issue NRMA has been fighting to improve for many years and now is the time to act. The report highlights that Australia does not need to wait for the Government’s assessment to start taking action and outlines solutions to a potential crisis including, improving road safety, increasing freight to rail and producing alternate fuels.

“We have the capacity in this country to produce alternative fuels including biofuels and gas,” Mr Blight said.

“There are answers right in front of us to help secure our transport energy future that complement larger scale solutions, such as stopping the closure of refineries and increasing our stock of oil within our borders.

“Other countries have addressed their transport fuel security future – there’s no reason why we can’t address ours.”

The report highlights:

  • · the Australian Government should take control of the situation in 2014 by working with industry stakeholders to help secure Australia’s transport energy future via the Government’s National Energy Security Assessment;
  • · Australia is the only International Energy Association member that does not meet its 90 day fuel stock obligation (60 days in May 2013, down from 71 days in October 2012);
  • · by 2030, Australia’s remaining five refineries could be closed leaving the country almost 100 per cent reliant on imported oil and facing a potential liquid fuel security crisis; and
  • · if tankers stopped entering Australian ports tomorrow, the nation would lose its capacity to transport food and medicine supplies very quickly. Australia has just:
    - three days of petrol in our service stations;
    - seven days of pharmacy supplies in retail pharmacies; and
    - seven days of chilled and frozen goods in our supermarkets.

What do you think of Australia’s fuel security after reading this? Do you think the Government should act now? Comment below or on our Facebook/Twitter communities.

Read the series of reports below:

A Roadmap for Alternative Fuels in Australia The first, released in 2008, provided a roadmap to reduce Australia’s dependence on oil, highlighting the issues facing Australian motorists, the economy and our environment.Read A Roadmap for Alternative Fuels in Australia report – 2008 (PDF 1.8MB/64 pages)
Fuelling future passenger vehicle use in Australia' report - 2010 The second report, Fuelling future passenger vehicle use in Australia, was released in 2010 at the second NRMA Alternative Fuel and Technology Summit. The report gave further insight into how alternative transport fuels and technologies could drastically reduce our reliance on imported oil and fuels.Read Fuelling future passenger vehicle use in Australia report – 2010 (PDF 3MB/133 pages)
Australia's Liquid Fuel Security Part 1 report: 2013 In 2013, we released a report by Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn (Retired) on Australia’s Liquid Fuel Security. This report details the extent of Australia’s reliance on transport fuels and calls on the Australian Government to develop an effective fuel security plan to deal with extraordinary disruptions to supply outside normal daily supply and distribution – such as war, economic turmoil or natural disasters.Read Australia’s Liquid Fuel Security Part 1 report – 2013 (PDF 1MB/24 pages)
Australia's Liquid Fuel Security Part 2 In February 2014, we released the second Fuel Security Report by Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn. It digs deeper into this issue, exposes Australia’s deteriorating fuel security position, explores why we have a problem, how bad it really is and what we can do to fix it.Read Australia’s Liquid Fuel Serurity Part 2 report – 2014 (PDF 1.1MB/23 pages:


Join our fight to keep petrol prices fair

Each week, in our weekly fuel update we forecast what you can expect to pay for petrol.

The nature of Sydney’s unique price cycle means that if your car is empty and the price cycle is at the top, you could be forced to fill up at anything up to 15 cents per litre more than the price at the bottom of the cycle.

Do you see such extreme differences in prices in your neighbourhood?

Do you take notice of the Sydney price cycle and try to fill up near the bottom?

We would like to learn more about your purchasing habits, so we can arm ourselves with data to help us keep the petrol companies honest. We have put together a three minute survey so you can have your say.

There are also five x $100 fuel vouchers for five lucky people who complete the survey.

There are just a few days left to complete this survey, so please forward on to your family friends and colleagues.

Survey link: www.mynrma.com.au/petrolpricing

A Christmas gift to motorists: petrol prices expected to fall


A wallet-whimpering moment shared by a motorist on Facebook

Have you heard whimpering when you’ve paid for petrol in the last week? No, it wasn’t a cat (I hope), that was actually your wallet crying because you’re paying a fortune for fuel. But we have good news. 

Average unleaded prices in Sydney are expected to fall during the Christmas period after the current price cycle ended on Tuesday.

The nature of Sydney’s unique price cycle means that by Christmas Day, prices should have dropped from a high of 157 cents litre towards an expected low of 144 cents per litre. The low point of 144 cents per litre should happen sometime close to Christmas Day based on the length of previous price cycles.

We encourage you to watch the price cycle and fill up when prices are much lower around Christmas. Your money is better off in your pocket as opposed to the petrol companies.

Today’s blog coincides with the launch of an NRMA petrol price survey that looks at motorists attitudes towards petrol prices across NSW and the ACT.

We would like to learn more about your purchasing habits so we can arm ourselves with data to help us keep the petrol companies honest.

It’s a short survey and we’d like you to have your say and forward on the link to your family and friends.

There are also five x $100 fuel vouchers for five lucky people who complete the survey.

Survey link: www.mynrma.com.au/petrolpricing

Remember to check the NRMA website to search for the best petrol price around you

Useful links:


Fill Up NOW – LPG Could Hit Record High of $1 Litre


The days of wallet-soothing LPG could be over now that we’ve found out average LPG prices could jump around 18 cents per litre to a record high of around 97 cents per litre in Sydney.

Drivers of LPG vehicles are being encouraged to fill up … NOW!

This warning comes ahead of the global December LPG contract price being released today that has shown an increase of 18 cents per litre. LPG drivers can feel this price hike as early as next week.

NRMA Motoring & Services is urging local oil companies to refrain from forcing prices up, especially in the lead-up to Christmas.

Spokesperson Peter Khoury said LPG prices had never jumped as high from month to month, while the December contract price was the highest ever recorded, sky rocketing by seven cents per litre.

“Christmas is the busiest time of the year for taxis and this price spike could hit them hard. The NRMA’s own patrol van fleet relies heavily on LPG as well,” Mr Khoury said.

The highest price for LPG ever was 90 cents per litre back in March 2012.

Help your fellow LPG drivers by tweeting the price of cheap LPG and where you filled up to @NRMA #NRMAadvocacy – we’ll share this to help drivers save at the pump.

In the lead-up to Christmas, what impacts could potential the price hike have on you?


  • LPG contract prices are set at a global level and the contract price is set for the month.
  • Each country’s LPG industry has the option of setting its own wholesale price that could be higher or lower than the global contract price.
  • Petrol companies buy their LPG at the locally set wholesale price and then set a price at the pump for consumers.

Useful Links:
 How to save on money and gas

Cheaper motoring costs
Average daily petrol prices
Fuel-saving tips for road trips
Fuel Types
Gaseous fuels
Alternative fuels

Image by David A Villa via Creative Commons.