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Information for buyers

When you're buying a car you should consider the ongoing running costs as well as the up-front price. By choosing a car that has low fuel consumption you can reduce your fuel costs as well as your impact on the environment.

What the fuel label tells you

The fuel economy label will be displayed on all cars for sale through motor vehicle traders that were manufactured after 2000, as long as the information is available.

The fuel economy label shows:

  • Vehicle make and model
  • Star rating - up to six stars for the most efficient cars
  • Cost per year to run the car - based on an average fuel price and a distance of 14,000km
  • Fuel economy in litres per 100km - based on performance of a new model of the car
  • Reference number - confirms that the label refers to the vehicle it’s displayed with
  • Average fuel price - used to calculate the cost per year for comparison purposes 

The star rating will help you to choose a vehicle that is more fuel efficient - so you can go further on each tank of fuel.

Fuel labels for electric cars

You can use the label on electric cars to compare efficiency and running costs with other types of car. The electric car label differs slightly in that:

  • Fuel economy for electric cars is shown in kilowatt hours per 100km
  • It includes a range showing how far the car can be expected to go on a full charge
  • Displaying the label is optional for dealers, as there aren’t that many electric cars on the market right now.

Using fuel economy information to compare cars

There can be big differences in fuel consumption between cars of the same or similar size. The star rating and indicative cost per year helps you to easily see the difference between cars. “Medium” sized cars often offer the same driver comfort and safety features as a “large” car, while using less fuel. Generally, the smaller a vehicle is, the less fuel it will use.

Use the ENERGYWISE fuel economy tool to compare different cars fuel economy, and see how far they can travel on $100 of fuel.

How much will it actually cost to run the car?

The fuel economy label gives you an indication of the fuel consumption, but actual performance depends on a wide range of factors including:

  • Your driving style and habits
  • Speed and distance travelled
  • Vehicle load
  • Vehicle condition and maintenance
  • Tyre pressure
  • Modifications like fitted roof racks
  • Features used, e.g. air conditioning

More information for buyers: