The trends evident in BITRE's earlier Information Sheet (BITRE 2009) have continued since 2008. Vehicle sales have increased, with the SUV and LCV categories continuing to increase their shares. With the introduction of compact and more fuel-efficient 4WDs, the growing SUV category has shown a considerable reduction in rated fuel consumption. LCV sales have also been increasing, though not as strongly as SUVs, along with a similarly decreasing level (since about 2006) in rated fuel consumption.
In the past (before 2008), Australian consumers' preference for vehicle characteristics that typically increased fuel consumption (such as higher power, larger size, more accessories or 4WD capability), meant that potential reductions in fuel consumption made possible by technological advances were not fully realised. This has been a worldwide trend in the automobile sector. However, that said, the long-term downward trend in energy intensity has increased in recent years as the latest generation of more fuel efficient light vehicles (including hybrids) entered the market, and with some buyers moving to smaller vehicles as petrol prices rose. The result has been a marked acceleration, over recent years, of the downward trend in the rated fuel consumption (tested L/100km) of new vehicles sold.
- New passenger vehicle fuel consumption trends, 1979 to 2013