Transport emissions: Road transport in Australia’s greenhouse gases

Transport is Australia's second-biggest greenhouse gas emitter, after electricity. 'Road' is the biggest category in transport emissions, by far.

When we drill down into 'road' emissions, cars dominate. Just 2% of Australia's 21 million registered vehicles are electric. That figure is growing. In 2022:

  • Battery electric registrations increased by 102%
  • Hybrid electric regos increased by 31%.
  • Combined, they add up to 125,000 cars.

But something else has changed. There are more diesel vehicles on the roads too. In 2022:

  • Diesel registrations increased by 5%.
  • That adds more than 300,000 cars.

What's happening now? EV and hybrid sales are cutting into the petrol-car market. Car sales provide the most timely data on how things are changing:

  • Battery EVs were 7% of car sales in July.
  • Hybrids and plug-ins were another 11%.

The car sales data also shows Australians are buying more utility vehicles. More than three-quarters of new cars sold in Australia are SUVs or Utes.

Not all SUVs are high-polluting. In June quarter, 22% of medium SUVs bought were Battery EVs (BEVs). But the other models are dragging the chain:

  • Small SUVs: 5% BEVs
  • Large SUVs: 2%
  • Utes: 0.05%

These national figures hide seismic differences depending on state, region and wealth.

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