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The Most Fuel Efficient Cars In Australia

The Most Fuel Efficient Cars In Australia

Whether you’re environmentally conscious or not, when buying a car most people consider fuel economy as part of their purchase decision. However, it might not be saving you the money you think it is.

The reality is hybrids and electric cars cost more to produce than those that run on petrol. They’re also still less popular, which means not only do you have a higher purchase price but the parts are also more expensive.

Take the Mitsubishi i-MIEV. It was released in Australia in 2011 at a purchase price of $65,000 with a total battery range of 100-160km that an equivalent sized petrol car cost $12,990. By the end of that same year Mitsubishi dropped the price to $48,800 to stimulate sales but it didn’t work. The car has now been withdrawn from the Australian market.

Electric cars such as the Mitsubishi i-MIEV are less popular and more expensive than petrol ones.
Electric cars such as the Mitsubishi i-MIEV are less popular and more expensive than petrol ones.

Therefore choosing fuel efficiency becomes a more personal choice of priorities: is your aim to pay less overall or reduce your impact to the planet? If you said bottom-line cost, then you need to factor in all costs, not just fuel.

There’s no doubt this will change over time as government regulations in Australia catch up to incentivise green-friendly cars (as they do in many other countries) and technology continues to advance. However, for now at least, it remains that small electric cars aren’t always suitable or the most cost effective options.

Here’s an overview of the overall five-year cost of the top 10 most fuel-efficient cars in Australia, compared with the top 10 most popular cars.

Australia’s Top 10 most fuel-efficient cars:

Fuel type Fuel consumption

L/100km

Base purchase price Annual finance cost Annual registration cost Annual insurance cost Annual fuel cost 5-year maintenance and repair cost Total cost over 5 years
1 BMW i3 Electric 0 $63,900 $15,732 $284 $1,864 $0 $8,820 $98,220
2 Mitsubishi i-MIEV Electric 0 $48,800 $12,012 $232 $1,720 $0 $3,600 $73,420
3 Nissan Leaf Electric 0 $39,990 $9,840 $284 $1,430 $0 $4,441 $62,211
4 Holden Volt Hybrid 1.2 $59,990 $14,772 $433 $1,490 $229 $3,276 $87,896
5 Audi A3 Hybrid 1.6 $62,490 $15,384 $232 $1,263 $305 $6,732 $92,652
6 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Hybrid 1.9 $47,490 $11,688 $433 $1,139 $362 $4,811 $75,093
7 BMW i8 Hybrid 2.1 $299,000 $73,608 $284 $2,798 $400 $13,230 $398,680
8 Porsche Panamera Hybrid 3.1 $296,900 $73,092 $433 $2,906 $591 $12,980 $398,090
9 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid 3.4 $139,200 $34,272 $433 $2,804 $648 $11,992 $220,249
10 Toyota Prius Hybrid 3.9 $32,490 $8,004 $284 $1,127 $743 $5,494 $56,284

 

Australia’s Top 10 most popular cars:

Fuel type Fuel consumption L/100km Base on-road purchase price Annual finance cost Annual registration cost Annual insurance cost Annual fuel cost 5-year maintenance cost Total cost over 5-years
1 Toyota Corolla Petrol 6.1 $24,440 $6,012 $433 $1,080 $1,164 $5,868 $49,302
2 Mazda 3 Petrol 5.7 $24,490 $6,012 $433 $1,008 $1,092 $4,992 $47,715
3 Hyundai i30 Petrol 7.3 $24,490 $6,024 $284 $1,068 $1,391 $4,992 $48,826
4 Holden Commodore Petrol 9.0 $34,980 $8,616 $433 $1,540 $1,715 $5,976 $67,491
5 Toyota Hilux Diesel 7.3 $53,990 $13,296 $433 $1,490 $1,653 $3,840 $88,201
6 Mazda CX-5 Petrol 6.4 $32,990 $8,124 $433 $1,161 $1,219 $8,448 $62,382
7 Toyota Camry Hybrid 5.2 $30,490 $7,248 $433 $1,128 $991 $4,574 $53,574
8 Volkswagen Golf Petrol 5.4 $23,490 $5,784 $433 $1,128 $1,032 $5,424 $46,562
9 Ford Ranger Diesel 6.9 $47,690 $11,736 $433 $1,487 $1,314 $5,784 $82,447
10 Mitsubishi Triton Diesel 7.1 $39,490 $9,720 $433 $1,279 $1,391 $3,840 $67,956

When you compare the five-year running cost of the most popular car in Australia (the Toyota Corolla) to the cost of the greenest car in Australia (the BMW i3) the difference is an outstanding $48,918 more expensive to go green. Unfortunately, the higher purchase price of the most fuel efficient cars puts most of these vehicles out of reach for most people, with the more cost-effective of these vehicles tending to be too small and impractical for most Australian families.

Unfortunately at present, fuel efficiency doesn’t always mean cheaper. Hopefully one day it will be, but until then if your priority is reducing your bottom-line costs then you need to factor in more than just fuel efficiency for your next car purchase.

For more auto related tips and tricks from The Blue Toro Blog, check out these stories:

Will Your Car Survive Your Next Road Trip?

Why You Need To Check Your Spare Tyre

Written by Janelle Gonzalez

Corporate escapee and mechanic’s wife Janelle Gonzalez has spent the last 24 years in garages, pit lanes and on road trips. Living a double life - corporate by weekday, trackside on the weekends - she shares her husband’s passion for cars. She has now turned her skills to building Australia’s first national mobile mechanic franchise. Her mission is to help Australians trust mechanics by educating car owners and returning to good old fashioned service values, while changing the lives of mechanics and their families.

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