Lifecycle emissions

Learn about total vehicle emissions produced during production, operation and disposal of a vehicle.

What are Lifecycle Emissions?

Emissions produced during a vehicle’s production, operation and disposal are often collectively called “lifecycle emissions”.

These include emissions produced during:

  • the vehicle manufacturing process;
  • the transport of the vehicle to its first point of sale
  • refining and transport of liquid fuels; and
  • generation of electricity

Data on this website does not represent the total picture in terms of a vehicle’s environmental impact, though it reflects the majority of impacts for petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles.

Emissions from vehicle manufacture and disposal

Like any product, the production and disposal of a motor vehicle has environmental impacts. These include:

  • the energy and emissions from the manufacturing process
  • the recyclability of components
  • the percentage of recyclable material used

Estimates of these impacts are not reported on this website because the data required is not available at an individual model level.

Emissions from fuel production and combustion

Environmental impacts occur during the extraction, production, refining, transport and combustion of the fuels used by petrol and diesel vehicles.

To help you estimate the emissions from the production and combustion of fuel for your vehicle, this website provides an estimate of ‘Fuel lifecycle emissions’ which you can see when you search and compare vehicles. These are based on emission factors from the .

The National Greenhouse Accounts can also be used to estimate the emissions from the combustion of ethanol, biodiesel and renewable diesel for use in cars and light commercial vehicles. The Green Vehicle Guide does not provide estimates for fuel lifecycle emissions for these fuel types as the emissions produced to make and supply these fuels depend on the feedstock used and the characteristics of the production facility.

Emissions from electric vehicles

An electric vehicle can produce zero emissions from vehicle use by using 100% renewable energy. Many emerging public charging infrastructure providers in Australia have also committed to using renewable energy.

If you recharge an electric vehicle using electricity from the grid, your electricity emissions will depend on how this electricity is generated, which can vary by location and time of day. Electricity produced in places and times with less renewable energy will produce higher emissions than places and times with more renewable energy.

The (NGAF) published by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, can help you estimate electricity generation emissions for each state and territory. Default estimates on the Green Vehicle Guide website use a national average.

How we calculate fuel lifecycle emissions

Calculations for fuel lifecycle emissions estimates on this website are based on the National Greenhouse Accounts Factors:

  • Scope 1 emissions (from fuel combustion),
  • Scope 2 emissions (electricity generation) and
  • Scope 3 emissions (domestic extraction, processing and transport of fuels)

This website uses tailpipe emissions to rank vehicles. This is because vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions are capable of zero emissions from vehicle use. A petrol or diesel vehicle cannot produce zero emissions from vehicle use, as petrol and diesel fuels contain carbon.

Understanding emissions

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