Car Advice for Women: Be a Label Lover

We all love our labels. Some labels carry brand names that make us feel cool, while other labels provide us with valuable information, such as how many grams of fat are in each biscuit. When it comes to cars, labels can be just as important. I’m not talking about the one that sits in the middle of the bonnet, but the one that sits on the windscreen of a new car; the Fuel Consumption Label. Yeh, I know, there are no celebs or models pushing this label so you won’t read about it in the gossip mags, but the label can help you to save money and care for the environment.

How?
The Fuel Consumption Label shows how many litres of fuel a vehicle uses to travel 100 kilometres and how many grams of carbon dioxide- CO2 the vehicle emits each kilometre travelled. Carbon dioxide is the gas that is the largest contributor to the greenhouse effect. The ratings are based on a standard test procedure so you can reliably compare the performance of different models under identical conditions.

The lower the numbers, the better it is for your wallet and our environment.

All new vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass sold in Australia, regardless of fuel or body type, are required by law to have a Fuel Consumption Label on the front windscreen. This includes passenger cars, four wheel drives and light commercial vehicles.

Why Are There 3 Different Fuel Consumption Figures?
The label will show how much fuel a car uses in Urban (city) driving as well as Extra Urban which includes suburban and freeway driving. Both of these figures are then used to calculate the combined fuel consumption usage. When you see an advertised fuel consumption figure, it generally refers to the combined figure. Only 1 CO2 figure is shown on the label, which relates to the combined fuel consumption figure.

What’s a Good Figure?
We all know that a size 8 or 10 pair of pants is for the slighter ones amongst us, but not many of us know off the top of our head what a good fuel consumption or CO2 emission figure is. Let’s keep this simple by looking at the most and least fuel efficient cars in Australia. The most fuel efficient is the Fiat 500 1.3 litre diesel consuming 4.2 litres per 100kms. And the least fuel efficient car is the Ferrari 575M F1 sculling 21.8 litres per 100kms. Try to look for a car with the fuel consumption under about 7 litres per 100kms and CO2 emissions of less than 130gms/km.

The size of the engine, type of car (small vs large SUV) and fuel used (diesel vs petrol) will all affect how much fuel it drinks and the level of CO2it emits.

Are the Figures Accurate?
While the fuel label provides standard fuel consumption and CO2 figures for comparing different vehicles, it should only be regarded as a guide only. You may experience different results when actually driving the vehicle because the fuel consumption of a particular vehicle will depend on what traffic conditions it is driven in, how you drive the vehicle and how well the vehicle is maintained.

Want To Know More?
The Fuel Consumption Label scheme is administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. Find out more about the label: www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/environment/index.aspx

About the Author
Melissa Pye is the founder and Managing Director of HerCar.com.au. Melissa has been working in the automotive industry since the early 1990’s and is pioneering the way women are valued in the industry and works with leading auto brands to educate them on the needs of women.

Source: HerCar.com.au – June 2009.

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