When it comes to fuel sources in passenger cars, Australians are straying further and further from the margins.
November VFACTS industry vehicle sales figures released last week show that 41,726 passenger cars were sold last month — passenger cars being sedans, hatchbacks, wagons, coupes and convertibles.
Of these, an overwhelming 39,152 were petrol-fired vehicles. A frankly negligible 1771 of them were diesels. An even more negligible number, 765, were electric or hybrid vehicles. LPG? 38.
These figures mean that, as a total proportion of all the passenger vehicles sold, 93.8 per cent were petrol-fired. A tiny 4.2 per cent of them had a diesel engine, 1.8 per cent were hybrid vehicles. The remaining 0.2 per cent were electric and LPG.
This figure is slightly awry, however, given EV-maker Tesla doesn’t participate in VFACTS. But it would not significantly alter the percentage, because it’s no volume brand.
Of perhaps most interest is diesel fuel, which has been in the spotlight of late, most notably as a result of the ongoing Volkswagen Group emissions saga.
Pictured: Toyota Camry, Lexus IS and Honda Accord hybrids.
According to the sales data, diesel passenger car sales to private buyers fell 24.9 per cent in November — about on par with the annual fall of 24.5 per cent.
Diesel passenger car sales to fleets fell 21.2 per cent for the month, meanwhile, which also about echoed the YTD figure.
The crucial figure is this: passenger car sales overall are down only 3 per cent this year.
Let's look at the drop in diesel passenger sales from a longer-term view. In November 2012, diesel passenger cars totalled 3337, which was about 7.2 per cent of that year’s total. Still a tiny niche, granted.
Perhaps in reflection of the growing efficiency of regular petrol cars, hybrid passenger sales were down to both private buyers (by 1.1 per cent) and fleets (by 7.7 per cent) in November — despite petrol-electric cars being more affordable now than ever.
For all of 2015, private hybrid vehicle sales are down at a rate significantly higher than just November. They’ve dropped 11.8 per cent.
The decline in LPG is perhaps the most marked. In the first 11 months of 2010, Australians bought 4796 LPG-fired cars, while this year that number sits at 1291. Holden has already axed the LPG Commodore, while Ford Falcon sales have obviously dwindled.