Nearly all of us have seen the August 2006 release of 'An Inconvenient Truth' by ex-US vice-president, Al Gore. What's alarming is that we are now seeing such phenomenal weather extremes including intense storms, droughts and floods.
Vehicle emissions account for about 8 per cent of the total carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming and extreme weather conditions. When you are considering buying a car, a quick CO2 check may help to ease your conscience and help you feel a little more comfortable with your choice. Reduced CO2 also means reduced fuel consumption so you will be saving money as well.
Surprisingly, given the high levels of environmental awareness, Australia was one of the slowest to take action in joining the Kyoto agreement. It's fair to say that most Australians really want to help combat global warming and many of us are willing to change things or adopt something new in our efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. While we are not going to revert to the horse and carriage, we do want to know how bad some cars are compared to others.
Green House Gases in Australia account for 28 tonnes per head. The world target is 2 tonnes of Green House Gases per head.
The less CO2 emissions the better.
By buying a vehicle with lower CO2 emissions you will not only be helping the environment, but you’ll be helping to create demand for cars that impact less on the environment.
The Australian vehicle industry has made some progress in reducing its carbon emissions. In 2005 a new industry target was established to reduce the average CO2 emissions for all new light vehicles to 222g CO2/km by 2010. This covers a broad range of vehicles including cars, SUVs and light trucks as well as all fuel types including petrol, diesel and LPG.
All new vehicles sold in Australia are now required to report emissions in terms of grams of CO2/km and you can check these figures, as well as fuel consumption at Green Vehicle Guide.
The table below shows the industry's progress in reducing overall new vehicle fleet emissions. In 2002 the National Average Carbon Emission was 256g CO2/km. In 2009 it was 218.5 g CO2/km.
|National Average Carbon Emission by year|
|Year||Grams CO2 g/km|
National Average Carbon Emissions (NACE) for all new light vehicles sold in Australia for 2007 was 226.1 g CO2/km. Australia was aiming at a target of 222 g CO2/km by 2010 but this was achieved by 2009. However, Europe is aiming at a target of 130 g/km by 2015 which should also be the target for Australia.
The Australian vehicle industry produces large cars which have inherently greater fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The achievement of the 222 g/km target was made substantially easier by the strong swing by consumers to small vehicles, which have been increasing their market share at the expense of the large car segment.
The following table from Careadvice shows the CO2 emissions from the various segments of the Australian new vehicle market, illustrating how challenging a 130 g/km target will be. Even the light car segment is well above this target.
|CO2 (g/km)||CO2 (g/km)|
|Trucks 2.5-3.5 GVM||267.7||266.8||0.33%|
|Light Commercial Total||252.8||256.5||-1.44%|