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Are These Some of the Most Fuel-Efficient Cars in Australia?

Fuel efficient cars

Whether you’re talking petrol, diesel or even hybrid, fuel-efficient cars not only have the potential to help you save on running costs, but they can also be more environmentally friendly than their more fuel-hungry counterparts. Which makes sense, considering the amount of fuel a vehicle uses is tied to its level of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.1 

Fuel prices have the average Aussie household spending around $95 per week filling up at the petrol bowser – or almost $5,000 per year.2 And it’s not just in Australia that running costs are making a dent in hip pockets. In 2021, a global World Economic Forum survey found fuel efficiency was the top priority for prospective car buyers.3 

Also known as fuel consumption or fuel economy, at the very basic level, fuel efficiency refers to the distance you can travel on a certain amount of fuel and is generally referenced as litres per 100km (L/100km).4 

To calculate fuel consumption, you can divide the distance travelled by the amount of fuel used. For example, if you travelled 100km and used 10 litres of fuel, your fuel consumption would be 10L/100km. You can also use this formula to compare cars based on their fuel efficiency.5 

What is good fuel consumption? 

Although this question doesn’t have a simple answer, according to motoring website WhichCar?, a fuel consumption of around 6-8 L/100km could be considered good for a small or medium passenger car that’s powered by petrol, while a fuel consumption of around 9-11 L/100km could be considered good for a larger petrol-powered vehicle such as a large SUV.5 

It could be helpful to keep in mind that your vehicle’s fuel consumption can be affected by factors such as the type of fuel you use, the condition of your vehicle, the way you drive and the load you’re carrying.5 

How are fuel consumption and emissions linked? 

Light vehicles – cars, 4x4s, SUVs and small commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes – account for 10% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions,6 so if you’re really looking to reduce your carbon footprint – and if your budget allows – an electric vehicle could be a good option. 

However, there are still plenty of fuel-efficient petrol cars that could help save you money at the bowser while also reducing your emissions. 

A vehicle that uses more fuel will generally emit more CO2, which means a vehicle that is fuel-efficient is also likely to be more eco-friendly.7 

Is there a national standard for fuel efficiency? 

Fuel efficiency standards are common around the world to encourage vehicle suppliers to sell cleaner cars. Here in Australia, the Federal Government is introducing a Fuel Efficiency (CO2) Standard that could see new vehicles produce less emissions on Australian roads.8 

A fuel efficiency standard (FES) is an obligation on light vehicle suppliers to make sure the new vehicles they bring into the market, on average, meet a particular CO2 per km standard.9 

Currently, all new vehicles up to 3.5 tonne gross vehicle mass that are sold in Australia are required to display a fuel consumption label on the windscreen. The label shows the vehicle’s fuel consumption in litres of fuel per 100km (L/100km) and its emissions of CO2 in grams per km (g/km).10 

What are some of Australia’s most fuel-efficient cars? 

Gone are the days when you had to choose between a petrol or a diesel car. ​Hybrid vehicles are now available in the Australian market, taking fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles to a whole new level. 

But how do the different vehicle options compare in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions? 

To help you in your green decision-making, we’ve compared some of the most popular fuel-efficient cars across petrol and hybrid categories using data, information and figures from the Australian Government’s Green Vehicle Guide.11 

Hybrid vehicles 

If you’re not quite ready to fully commit to an electric vehicle, then a hybrid car could be the next most eco-friendly option. 

A hybrid vehicle can run on both petrol or diesel and electric power.12 These vehicles are capable of using as much as 60% less fuel and emitting around 30% less CO2 than a conventional vehicle.6 

If you prefer the combined benefits of fuel and electric power that hybrids provide, here are some of the top performers, with fuel consumption and emissions data taken from the Green Vehicle Guide and based on combined fuel consumption (L/100km) and tailpipe CO2 emissions (g/km). 

Make/model  Combined fuel consumption (L/100km) Combined tailpipe CO2 (g/km)
2020 Toyota Yaris13  3.3 76 
2019 Toyota Corolla14 3.5 81
2020 Toyota Yaris Cross15 3.8 86
2021 Kia Niro16 3.8 88
2023 Hyundai Kona17 3.9 88
2022 Honda Civic18 4.2 96
2022 Toyota Camry19 4.2 96
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross20 4.3 97
2020 Honda Accord21 4.3 98
2022 Honda HR-V22 4.3 98 

Petrol vehicles 

If you plan on sticking with fuel-powered vehicles, here’s a look at how some of Australia’s top-selling petrol/diesel cars perform, with fuel consumption and emissions data taken from the Green Vehicle Guide and based on combined fuel consumption (L/100km) and tailpipe CO2 emissions (g/km). 

Make/model Combined fuel consumption (L/100km) Combined tailpipe CO2 (g/km) 
2021 Toyota RAV423 6 137
2017 Mazda CX-524 6 158
2019 Toyota Corolla25 6 137
2015 Mazda CX-326 6.1 146
2021 Kia Sportage27 6.3 163
2021 Hyundai Tuscon28 6.3 163
2017 MG ZS29 6.7 157
2018 MG MG330 6.7 158
2022 Mazda BT-5031 6.9 180
2020 Hyundai i3032 7 159

How does your vehicle stack up? 

Whether you choose hybrid or fuel-powered, opting for a more fuel-efficient vehicle can save you money in the long run and can also be beneficial for the environment. If you’re keen to find out how your ride compares, you can check its fuel efficiency online – and compare it to that of other vehicles – using the Green Vehicle Guide

Buying a new car can be a big investment, so it can help to do your own research before deciding which vehicle might best suit your needs. Once you have your new set of wheels, it could also be a good idea to get it covered. You might like to check out Youi’s range of car insurance options to see if we’ve got a policy that works for you, or start a quote online. 


1 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – Frequently Asked Questions 
2 Source: Australian Automobile Association – Transport Affordability, ​29 November 2023 
3 Source: World Economic Forum – Car buyers prioritise fuel efficiency over safety and low price in new survey, 2021 
4 Source: CarsGuide – Fuel efficiency explained, ​2019 
5 Source: WhichCar? – Australia's most fuel-efficient cars in 2023: Petrol, diesel and hybrid, 2023 
6 Source: Australian Government – Transport 
7 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – Vehicle emissions 
8 Source: Australian Government – An Australian Fuel Efficiency Standard: Cleaner cars for Australia 
9 Source: Australian Government – The Fuel Efficiency Standard Consultation paper, 2023 
10 Source: Australian Government – Fuel consumption label 
11 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – Green Vehicle Guide 
12 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – Hybrid vehicles 
13 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2020 Toyota Yaris 
14 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2019 Toyota Corolla (hybrid) 
15 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2020 Toyota Yaris Cross 
16 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2021 Kia Niro 
17 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2023 Hyundai Kona 
18 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2022 Honda Civic 
19 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2022 Toyota Camry 
20 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross 
21 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2020 Honda Accord 
22 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2022 Honda HR-V 
23 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2021 Toyota RAV4 
24 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2017 Mazda CX-5 
25 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2019 Toyota Corolla 
26 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2015 Mazda CX-3 
27 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2021 Kia Sportage 
28 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2021 Hyundai Tucson 
29 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2017 MG ZS  
30 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2018 MG MG3 
31 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2022 Mazda BT-50 
32 Source: Green Vehicle Guide – 2020 Hyundai i30