Fuel consumption improving in modern vehicles

If there's one constant in the automotive world, it's the constant striving for greater fuel efficiency in our vehicles. Whether that be through development of alternatives to conventional petroleum sources such as biodiesel, or attempting to remove the reliance on oil altogether with electric engines, car manufacturers have the issue at the top of their agendas.

The good news is all that focus and dedication appears to be paying off. The latest statistics from the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute show that the average car fuel consumption for new vehicles sold in January reached 9.37 litres per 100km.

Fuel efficiency can be a deciding factor for fleet managers looking to add vehicles to their roster, and choosing between fuel, electricity or somewhere in between is getting more difficult.

Electric vehicles are leading the way on reducing carbon emissions. Electric vehicles are leading the way on reducing carbon emissions.

Fuel vs electric for your fleet

Take a look at the top-performing vehicles for CO2 emissions according to the Green Vehicle Guide, and you'll quickly see electric and plug-in hybrids are leading the way. Fully electric cars from manufacturers including Nissan and Mitsubishi are showing the way alongside more luxury options from BMW, Renault and even Tesla. 

However, while a fully electric engine may be the most environment-conscious choice for Australian fleet managers, the reality of the supporting infrastructure makes the choice a little more complicated. Charging stations are becoming a more common sight, but "range anxiety" is still of real concern. The comparative lack of energy supply for electric cars means they are still an impractical choice for many.

A fully electric engine may be the most environment-conscious choice for Australian fleet managers.

The same could be said for plug-in hybrid vehicles, which are efficient but still reliant on charging stations to get the most out of them. The next step up are the traditional petrol hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, but today's most efficient petrol options now rival them for efficiency according to the Green Vehicle Guide.

The argument against electric cars

Despite the public embracing electric vehicles (EVs) in the US and Europe, CarsGuide notes that Australian buyers are somewhat sceptical about their cleanliness in this country. Of greatest concern is the fact that the energy required to charge EVs still comes from coal and gas-fired power stations, in essence eradicating the environmentally friendly image of the cars. 

It's this discrepancy that makes EVs a relatively uncommon sight in Australia. Some fleet managers may in fact choose to remain with conventional petrol vehicles, and minimise their carbon footprint through careful use of fuel management software, rather than adopting a technology not quite mature enough for widespread use in our country.