Vehicles & the Environment

The Department is responsible for managing policy and standards development on vehicle emissions, vehicle noise and fuel consumption labelling.

The Department provides input on fuel quality issues and manages the environmental criteria for the fuel tax credit for heavy diesel vehicle operators.

The Department also hosts and manages the Green Vehicle Guide website.

Review of Emission Standards (Euro VI) for Heavy Vehicles Discussion Paper

A discussion paper was released for public comment in October 2012 to consider the merits of adopting more stringent (Euro VI) air pollutant emission standards for heavy vehicles in Australia.

Light Vehicle CO2 Emissions Standards Discussion Paper

A discussion paper was released for public comment in September 2011, examining the issues associated with the implementation of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions standards for light vehicles.

Comments on the discussion paper closed on 9 December 2011.

Green Vehicle Guide

The Green Vehicle Guide (GVG) website provides information about the environmental performance of new light vehicles (up to 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass) sold in Australia since mid-2004. It is updated regularly as new models come onto the market and contains detailed information to helps consumers identify the performance of individual vehicle models. Information provided for each vehicle helps consumers compare the level of emissions and fuel consumption of different vehicles and consequently their impact on the environment.

Green Vehicle Logo

To ensure that the GVG website remains a relevant source of information for Australian consumers, the Department will be launching a new GVG website in 2015.

The new website results from the consultation processes conducted in 2011 and 2012. The Department would like to thank all stakeholders for their contributions to this process.

The new website will be consistent with the approach suggested in the 2012 consultation paper and will place a greater emphasis on CO2 emissions, while continuing to provide information on fuel consumption, air pollution, noise and fuel lifecycle emissions.  Further details of the proposed changes can be found on the GVG website.

Australian Design Rules and the Environment

Motor vehicles are a significant contributor to urban air pollution and noise that can impact on the quality of life in our major cities.

To date, the principal measure used in Australia for reducing vehicle emissions and noise has been the through the introduction of tighter standards for new vehicles through the Australian Design Rules (ADRs).

These ADRs are made under Section 7 of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and set the standards that each vehicle model is required to meet, prior to their first supply to the market.  The full text of all ADRs is available on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments, and this site can be accessed from the numerical ADR list. The current ADRs addressing emissions, noise and fuel consumption labelling are:

  • ADR30/01—Smoke Emission Control for Diesel Vehicles
  • ADR79/02—Emission Control for Light Vehicles (Euro 4)
  • ADR79/03—Emission Control for Light Vehicles ('Core' Euro 5—applicable to new model vehicles from November 2013)
  • ADR79/04—Emission Control for Light Vehicles ('Full' Euro 5—applicable to all vehicles manufactured from November 2016)
  • ADR80/03—Emission Control for Heavy Vehicles (Euro V with equivalent US and Japanese alternatives)
  • ADR81/02—Fuel Consumption Labelling for Light Vehicles
  • ADR83/00—External Noise

For further information see:

Fuel Tax Credit For Heavy Diesel Vehicles: Guidelines for Environmental Criteria

Under the fuel tax credit arrangements that applied from 1 July 2006, businesses wishing to seek a fuel tax credit for the use of diesel fuel in a heavy road vehicle must satisfy one of four environmental performance criteria to be eligible for the credit.

Fuel Quality Standards

As vehicle emissions control technology becomes more sophisticated, the quality of the fuels is critical. The Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 managed by the Department of the Environment provides the capacity for the Australian Government to set limits on those fuel parameters which impact on environmental/health objectives, vehicle technology and vehicle operation. The standards in place for petrol, diesel, LPG and biodiesel address fuel properties that are considered important in facilitating the adoption of emerging vehicle engine and emission control technologies, and in managing ambient levels of pollutants identified as posing health and environmental problems.


Last Updated: 13 May, 2015