Carbon-dioxide emissions by new cars sold in Australia fall 2.8% in 2011 to their lowest-ever levels.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries says significant improvements in vehicle technology resulted in a national average carbon-emission (NACE) figure for 2011 of 206.6 g/km of CO2, down from 212.6 g/kg in 2010.

“The average new car sold in Australia is now at least 20% more efficient than it was in 2000,” FCAI CEO Ian Chalmers says in a statement.

All new passenger cars, SUVs, light-commercial pickups, vans and buses up to 3.85 tons (3.5 t) are included in calculating the NACE figure. The FCAI says this means many more vehicle types are included than in CO2 measurements used elsewhere in the world, including Europe.

“This is one of the most significant yearly improvements in the NACE figure and demonstrates the industry’s commitment to continue to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions,” Chalmers says.

Besides advancements in vehicle technology, falling CO2 levels reflect consumer interest shifting toward lower-emission vehicles. “There has been a strong uptake in new-generation diesel and hybrid-powered vehicles by consumers,” he says.

In addition, reductions of almost 7% in gasoline-powered vehicles’ average emissions indicates consumers are seeking greater efficiency across the new-vehicle fleet.

“Carbon-dioxide emissions from new vehicles have (been) reduced significantly without regulation, and the industry now looks forward to working constructively with the federal government in developing a new standard,” Chalmers says.

Australia National Average Carbon-Emission (NACE) Measurements

Year NACE (per km) Reduction

2002 252.4 –

2003 249.5 1.1%

2004 246.5 1.2%

2005 240.7 2.3%

2006 230.3 4.3%

2007 226.1 1.8%

2008 222.4 1.6%

2009 218.6 1.7%

2010 212.6 2.7%

2011 206.6 2.8%

Source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries