How VESR works

The Vehicle Emission Star Rating (VESR) is a tool that allows you to compare tailpipe emissions of light vehicles in Australia.

The star rating is a visual way to compare the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from passenger cars. More stars mean lower emissions and less harm to the environment. 

The CO2 emissions of each vehicle are reported by manufacturers to the Australian Government. Stars are allocated in half star increments based on how many grams of COthe vehicle emits, per kilometre of travel.

VESR is a national star rating that has been applied to all vehicles sold on the Australian market since 2004. Star ratings are commonly used to compare products, such as electrical appliances and buildings.

Measuring vehicle tailpipe CO2 emissions 

The VESR website tells you how much carbon dioxide (CO2) a car emits from its exhaust, based on a standard test that measures the amount of CO2 released per kilometre driven.

This lab-tested result comes from information drawn from the Australian Government’s Green Vehicle Guide, and VESR presents it in a simple, visual format. The data in the Green Vehicle Guide is submitted by auto-manufacturers to the Australian Government.

Increased emissions of greenhouse gases are warming the earth and contributing to the effects of climate change. By reducing our emissions now, we can reduce the intensity of climate change and minimise the impacts on humans, our environment, and the economy. 

Star rating
Tailpipe CO2 Emissions (g/km)
Vehicles are rated in half star increments based upon the vehicle’s tailpipe carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions released per kilometre. Only vehicles with no tail pipe emissions achieve a 6-star rating.

Compare the climate impact of different vehicles using VESR

Buying a car can be a complex process. Especially, when it comes to understanding the environmental impact.  

If you’re in the market for a new or used car, search for it on the VESR website to see how it rates. VESR offers information on each vehicle’s tailpipe emissions, along with information about its fuel and running costs. The more stars in the rating, the lower the vehicle’s tailpipe emissions. Vehicles with 6 stars have the lowest emissions.

You can also compare different models on your shortlist. This means you can compare your current car with one that you’re considering buying to see if you’re reducing your emissions when you switch. You can also compare fuel and electricity costs for different vehicles.

You can also use the calculator on the website to estimate your running costs. All vehicle performance and emissions data are measured using standardised lab tests and can differ from a vehicle’s performance in the real world. 

More information can be found at Fuel and running costs.

Comparing vehicle types

You can use VESR to browse and compare vehicles by their engine type. This includes:

Internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles 

Vehicles that run on petrol or diesel. These vehicles currently make up most vehicles on Australian roads.

Battery electric vehicles (BEV)

Vehicles that run solely on battery power and require recharging. These vehicles produce no emissions and do not have a tailpipe. It is common to see reference to pure battery electric vehicles, simply as electric vehicles or EVs for short. However, it is best to check as you may need to distinguish an EV from a hybrid electric vehicle.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV)

Vehicles with both a traditional combustion engine and a rechargeable plug-in battery. They run on either fuel (like an ICE vehicle), or electricity (like a BEV) but their smaller batteries limit how far they can travel in electric mode before reverting to the petrol or diesel engine.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV)

Vehicles that run on petrol or diesel but with a small battery that improves efficiency. HEVs recover a small amount of energy to minimise fuel consumption, for example, through regenerative braking. Unlike BEVs or PHEVs, these vehicles cannot be recharged with an external plug; they are entirely powered by petrol or diesel.

Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) 

Vehicles that run on electricity generated from an on-board fuel cell. This fuel cell uses hydrogen stored in on-board tanks to produce electricity that powers the motor. FCEVs cannot be recharged using a plug (unlike BEVs or PHEVs) and are typically refuelled with compressed hydrogen gas. There aren’t many of these vehicles on Australian roads.

For more detailed information on vehicles and emissions, or to better understand how the rating works, view our VESR Resources

Compare vehicle emissions ratings to reduce your footprint

Explore and compare thousands of vehicle emissions ratings of all engine and body types available in the Australian market

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