Go green and save: Environmentally friendly car loans

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Jeannie Messer investigates the benefits of green car loans.

February 17, 2010

Need a new car but concerned about climate change?  No worries. A new type of car loan is making it easier to buy that clean, green, driving machine.

They’re called ‘green car loans’ and, like their much publicized counterparts, ‘green home loans’, they reward you for making more environmentally friendly choices, offering you a lower interest rate for buying a less greenhouse-polluting car. 

As a new car buyer your final choice will be determined by a range of factors, including budget, driving patterns and size requirements. It’s a major investment so it’s important do your homework: talk to family and friends about cars, visit car dealers, read car magazines and research different models online. Think about the features you want in a car, like off-road capacity, and then consider how often you will need to use these features. If you think you’ll only need to use them occasionally, you may decide it’s not worth the extra financial and/or environmental costs often attached to such features.

Visiting the Australian Government’s Green Vehicle Guide is a must. The guide provides a Five Star Greenhouse Rating System based on individual vehicle’s CO2 emissions; an Air Pollution Rating (based primarily on emission standards); an overall Star Rating (a combination of the Greenhouse Rating and Air Pollution Rating); and information about Fuel Consumption (in L/100km).

Choosing the cleanest, greenest car that suits your needs – and your budget – will cut your greenhouse emissions and your fuel bills: more fuel efficient cars are quite simply cheaper to run. Green Car Loans give drivers another great incentive to think about buying a more environmentally friendly car. 

A number of financial institutions have started offering these loans, including the Savings and Loans Credit Union, the NRMA, MECU, and Bendigo Credit Union. While particulars of loans may vary, the basic principle is the same – a higher Greenhouse Rating equals a lower interest rate. As part of its GoGreen Car Loan, MECU will also offset your emissions by planting native trees for the loan’s duration. 

The percentage of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions produced by motor vehicles has risen by 25 percent since 1990. We’re all starting to feel the heat and we all need to do our bit to turn this figure around. Buying a greener car is a great way to make a difference. The good news is, with Green Car Loans, it’s never been easier – or more attractive.  


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