One of Australia’s leading climate lobby groups has claims overseas motorists are saving thousands of dollars every year on fuel because they have access to more efficient vehicles not sold in Australia.

    However, data presented by the group is either starkly different to previous studies, or provided without context.

    Lobby group Climate Council – citing data from the International Council of Clean Transport (ICCT) – claims the average fuel consumption of a new passenger car in Australia is 6.9 litres per 100km, while utes and vans consume an average of 9.9L/100km.

    Despite claiming the equivalent categories in the USA consume 4.2L/100km and 6.1L/100km respectively, figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA) show the 2019 new light vehicle average (all three segments) was 8.6L/100km – a figure unlikely to have dropped so significantly in five years.

    This discrepancy continues in Europe, where the Climate Council says the two categories consume 3.5L/100km and 5.6L/100km respectively, despite IEA data showing the 2019 average was 7.0L/100km for all light vehicles – having dropped just 1.0L/100km since 2005.

    The Climate Council says the Federal Government’s proposed New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES) could result in fuel savings of up to $1460 for passenger cars and $1250 for utes and vans, based on the overseas data. 

    A spokesperson for the Climate Council told CarExpert it used ICCT data – converted from grams of CO2 per 100km to litres per 100km – due to the age of the IEA studies, as well as difficulties finding “a source of consistent data for fuel efficiency internationally”.

    The Climate Council also included data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics saying the average fleet emissions of passenger vehicles (sedans, hatchbacks and SUV) in Australia is 11.1L/100km, while for light commercial vehicles (utes and vans) it’s 12.8L/100km.

    It also includes fuel consumption data for what appear to be two identical models without important context differentiating them.

    According to the Climate Council, “the Isuzu D-Max has a fuel efficiency of 6.4L/100km in the UK, while the Australian version uses 20 per cent more fuel, at up to 8.0L/100km”.

    While some versions of the Australian-delivered Isuzu D-Max consume up to 8.0L/100km, this is only relevant to variants powered by a 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.

    UK-delivered examples of the Isuzu D-Max are sold exclusively with a 1.9-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, with the most efficient variant using 6.9L/100km.

    The 1.9-litre is also available in Australia on D-Max SX grades, where the claimed fuel economy figures are between 6.7 and 7.0L/100km.

    Despite its convoluted data set, the Climate Council is ultimately echoing calls from some of Australia’s biggest new-car companies to introduce the NVES. 

    “Our long-time lack of fuel efficiency standards makes us a dumping ground for older, less efficient cars. Australians are paying far more for fuel because we are driving inefficient petrol-guzzling cars the rest of the world has rejected,” said Climate Councillor and economist, Nicki Hutley. 

    “An immediate benefit of making cars more efficient is that the average new car will consume less fuel to drive the same distance, lowering fuel bills and helping Australians tackle cost of living pressures.

    “An effective New Vehicle Efficiency Standard will bring us up to speed with the majority of the world that already has similar standards in place. Drivers in these countries are already enjoying the savings and choice of cleaner, cheaper-to-run cars Aussies have missed out on for decades.

    “It’s time for the Federal Government to put the pedal to the metal and deliver this standard so Australians can start seeing the same benefits already enjoyed by drivers overseas.”

    MORE: Car industry cautious about Australia’s proposed vehicle efficiency standards
    MORE: Mazda pumps the brakes on Australian efficiency standards, calls for subsidies
    MORE: Australian fuel efficiency standards aimed at cutting petrol bills, ‘catching up’ with US
    MORE: What Australia’s biggest car brands have to say about tough new emissions standards
    MORE: Australian dealer body criticises tougher emissions standards
    MORE: Hyundai backs tough emissions standard for Australian new cars
    MORE: Volkswagen’s wish list for Australian emissions standards revealed

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

    Buy and Lease
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers