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Buy a fuel-efficient vehicle
Buying a new vehicle can be exciting and there are lots of options to consider.
Choosing a fuel-efficient vehicle, whether it’s a car, SUV (sports utility vehicle) or a small to medium sized truck or commercial vehicle, is a good financial decision that can save you thousands of dollars in fuel costs. It will also greatly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution you generate when driving.
All new light motor vehicles (cars, four-wheel drives and light commercial vehicles) sold in Australia have to display a Fuel Consumption Label. The Label is designed to help you make informed choices about the running costs and emissions performance of your new car. Fuel consumption information is also available for many cars made before 2004.
Small and medium sized trucks and commercial vehicles don’t have individual fuel consumption data or fuel consumption labels. Some guidelines do exist to help you make a fuel-efficient and cost-effective choice.
- Save money on your fuel costs
- Reduce your vehicle’s greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution
At a glance
- Savings 3
- Ease 2
- Impact 3
Think about your day-to-day transport requirements. To choose the right vehicle, consider:
- How many passengers or what size, type and load weight do you usually carry?
- How much boot or load space do you need?
- Do you usually make shorter trips in a city, or take longer journeys?
- What types of roads you usually drive on?
- How much likely maintenance costs are?
- How much the potential resale value will be?
These answers will affect the size and type of vehicle and engine size you choose.
You may have a favourite manufacturer or type of vehicle.
To choose the right car or light commercial vehicle, consider how often you’ll use extra features like four-wheel drive or a large engine for towing a caravan.
For commercial vehicles think about how often you’ll be transporting heavy loads, or using ancillary equipment such as loading and unloading or refrigeration equipment.
If you’re buying a new car or light commercial vehicle, check the Fuel Consumption Label. All new cars and light commercial vehicles sold in Australia must have this label displayed. The lower the figures the better—the figures show how many litres of fuel you will use to drive 100 kilometres and the greenhouse gas emissions.
If you’re looking at cars made from 2004 onwards, refer to the GreenVehicleGuide to check their fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.
If you’re looking at cars made between 1986 and 2003, use the Fuel consumption guide database to compare the efficiency of different models.
Small and medium sized trucks and commercial vehicles don’t currently have individual fuel consumption data available. However, there are features that can improve fuel economy. For example, some vehicles have the option of aerodynamic aids and auto stop start (or idle management) function that, when activated, automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop. Fuel-efficient driver training is also available.
Make sure that you know all the tips and tricks for how to drive efficiently to save more on fuel and vehicle maintenance.
Do lots of research into which vehicles are the most reliable and suitable for your requirements. You can visit company websites as well as consumer sites or look up test reviews to get an idea of what experts think.
There are a number of websites that provide information about the price of new and used vehicles. You may also be able to get a specific sales report for the vehicle you’re interested in.
The truckbuyersguide.gov.au website has a checklist to help you choose the most appropriate small or medium sized truck or commercial vehicle for your operation.
A mechanic's inspection report can help to identify how well-maintained and road-worthy a used vehicle is before you buy it.
Test drive different vehicles and take your time to shop around. Avoid ‘purchase pressure’ by taking a knowledgeable friend or acquaintance.
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