C02 emissions from passenger vehicles

A recent article (pre last weekend’s election) about emissions of C02 by Australian motorists caught my attention.
Apparently, our four-wheeled companions are the second worst in the world when it comes to C02 emissions (one can always count on the good old USA to save you the top spot on rankings like this, but it seems even that is not going to last for long in this case). My interest in the article was incited in part by my recent shopping experience for a hybrid vehicle. When I mentioned to my friends that I am after a hybrid, the question was always: ‘Why would you want to do that’? Even the dealers in the car showrooms were surprised that someone is asking for a hybrid. One said: ‘Not too many people are keen on hybrids… You’ve got to remember, this is a country of V8s, and anything below V6 is still seen as a bit of a joke…’
My research in the new car market showed that one can buy a hybrid vehicle that uses about two-thirds the amount of fuel and emits much less C02 emissions for about $1500-$2000 more than the same car with regular petrol engine. I reckoned this is a good deal, and went for it.
I also noticed that most new vehicles are now boasting significantly better fuel economy and better environmental ratings than previous models. This might be partly due to the recent trend of price consciousness by Australian motorists in the face of significant price hikes at the bowser. As colleagues from ANU report in their published research (Burke&Nishitateno, Energy Economics,36(2013): 363-370) new vehicles tend to be more fuel efficient and emit less C02 emissions in countries with comparably higher petrol prices.
I hope that in coming years more Australian motorists will turn to vehicles that emit less C02 and use less petrol. It is good for the environment, and good for the hip pocket.

Author: Tiho Ancev

Tiho Ancev is a Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics in the School of Economics, University of Sydney. His main research areas are agricultural, environmental, natural resource and energy economics. Tiho’s main contributions have been in water economics and policy, economics of energy, economics of air pollution and climate change policies, and economics of precision agriculture and agricultural input use. He has published widely on these topics in top international peer reviewed journals. Tiho has led and contributed to national and international research projects in these research areas. He is currently the Managing Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics.