Australian Government initiatives to reduce emissions from road transport

Noxious emissions

Noxious emissions from vehicle exhausts can cause smog, heart and lung disease and cancer. To minimise these impacts, Australia has noxious emission standards. These standards set maximum limits for noxious emissions from vehicle exhausts for new road vehicles supplied to Australia, and have been progressively tightened over the past 40 years.

An increasing proportion of vehicles meeting tighter noxious emission standards has played a major part in improving and maintaining good air quality in Australia. We remain committed to harmonising with international vehicle standards developed by the United Nations to improve health outcomes for all Australians.

Below are a summary of the noxious emission limits that apply to light and heavy vehicles in the Australian Design Rules (ADRs), depending on when the vehicle was manufactured. The ADRs are performance standards that specify the maximum levels of noxious emissions permitted under a specified test.

New Vehicle Efficiency Standard

A New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (a Standard) will regulate the annual average carbon dioxide (CO2) emission levels from all new cars supplied to Australia by car manufacturers. It does not apply to vehicles already on the road. A Standard will help decrease CO2 emissions by increasing the supply of more affordable, electric, hybrid and other fuel-efficient vehicles.

Over 85% of all vehicles sold in the world are already covered by a fuel efficiency standard, including the European Union, United States, United Kingdom, China, Japan, Brazil, India, Canada, South Korea, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

Work is currently underway to implement a Standard in Australia. Find out more at

Regulating Australian Fuel Quality

The Australian Government regulates the quality of petrol and diesel sold in Australia. Poor fuel quality can damage the environment, vehicles and our health.

Our fuel quality standards seek to:

  • reduce fuel pollutants and emissions
  • facilitate the adoption of better engine and emission control technologies
  • improve engine operation

You can read more about this work at Regulating Australian fuel quality.