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Australia Green Vehicle Ratings

8% of Australia's overall greenhouse gas production come from personal-use car exhausts alone. To control this environmental problem, the government has instituted a rating system to identify the most eco-friendly green vehicles and their manufacturers.

If you're in the market for a new car, take a good look at the rating for your vehicles, as well as its fuel consumption. With oil prices at all-time highs, it pays to take the extra step and take note of costs of running a car in the long run.

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Cars are ranked by their level of greenhouse gas output plus their air pollution rating. Australia's Motor Vehicle Standards Act of 1989 was the first to specify allowable levels of particulate matter and carbon monoxide gas emissions. The initial ratings were phased out by 2005. More stringent criteria adapted from UN standards were introduced this year.

Testing is done by laboratories under standardised conditions to enable fair comparisons. However, real-life driving can be in a variety of situations, and so actual fuel efficiency and emissions ratings for your car can veer off from what you'll expect based on the published green vehicle rating.

Japanese, Italian and French models make up the current top eight green vehicles in Australia. The top five are five-star rated, which means they attain a combined green house and air pollution rating below or equal to sixteen points, based on national standards:

Toyota Prius Fiat 500 Fiat Punto Citroen C3 Fiat Ritmo Honda Civic Hybrid Peugeot 207 Toyota Corolla
1. Toyota
2. Fiat
3. Fiat
4. Citroen
5. Fiat
6. Honda
7. Peugeot
8. Toyota
The best green vehicles aren't always the best-selling ones, though. Choosing a green car involves a long process of weighing your vehicle needs (and the extras and features you wish to enjoy) against potential emissions of a new or second-hand car and seeking a balance between what you might be saving and what you can afford. As a rule of thumb, the less frills on your car, the less your fuel consumption will be. Smaller models make better green cars than larger, petrol-guzzling suburbans or 4WD's.
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