In 2008, the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland reported that Australia was highly dependent on car travel – it accounts for 80% of all passenger travel. There are 28 tonnes of greenhouse gases per head in Australia. Emissions from vehicles account for around 8% of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming. Australia is behind other countries in this respect. In Japan, vehicles with less than a certain engine size have yellow number plates and are cheaper to register.
The government’s Green Vehicle Guide (www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au/
The 5th-greenest car currently available, according to the guide, is the Toyota Prius Hybrid. It is economically as well as ecologically sound, using a mere 4.4 litres per 100km, so you can improve your conscience and your budget at the same time. The Prius is a hybrid – it uses an electric motor to power the vehicle at low speeds, which sends less nasty emissions into the atmosphere. It churns out only 102 grams of CO2 per kilometre.
The principal downside of the Prius is its cost — the RRP is $37,400. This is a lot for a small car of similar size to the Corolla, which costs only $20,990. The Prius is also not a memorable drive, but is a great car for cities, with light steering, a tight turning circle, and a large boot.
The Citroen C3 has been in Australia since 2002. It matches the fuel consumption of the Prius. It delivers agility and power. It is roomy and comfortable. It has an ingenious stop-and-start option that saves petrol when the engine is idle. Visibility is second to none, and natural light improves the car’s interior. It produces 148g of CO2 per 100km. It costs $21,990 for a five-speed manual version. This car emphasises comfort over handling. The C3 has demonstrated that diesel engines can keep abreast of the development of hybrids. Hybrids are becoming less popular. Diesel engines are often more frugal.
The Citroen C3 is unique in being so stylish. It might not be considered sexy, but is certainly charming. The drawbacks of its appearance are that the boot is tiny and there is a dearth of knee- and headroom in the rear, although it is 30mm more than the previous model. 42 C3s in Australia were recalled to rectify a defect in the anti-lock braking system and electronic stability program which could cause reduced steering control while braking. It takes six minutes to check a vehicle, and two-and-a-half hours to correct the problem if a fault is found.
Although neither car was ranked as one of the top 20 best-selling in Australia by the Green Vehicle Guide, smaller cars are becoming more popular. There is perhaps some truth to what women have always said: bigger isn’t necessarily better. These cars use less petrol, so there are less greenhouse emissions. Downsizing allows you to save not just money, but the world.
In case you didn’t click through to Australia’s Green Vehicle Guide but are curious about the top 5 cars in that ranking, they are:
1 . Mitsubishi iMiEV
2 . Nissan Leaf
3 . Tesla Roadster
4 . Holden Volt
5 . Toyota Prius