The Vehicle Certification Agency statistics show a massive number of models available for fleet drivers, ranging from superminis to upper medium and executive cars.
The new CO2-based tax regime, along with CO2-based vehicle excise duty, encourages drivers to opt for cleaner cars by taxing them on emissions, starting at 15% of a car's P11D price for vehicles producing 165g/km or less and rising to 35% for vehicles producing 265g/km or more.
There is a 3% supplement for diesel drivers, while motorists using alternative fuels are offered a series of discounts, depending on the fuel they choose.
The choice available according to the latest VCA data, published in its New Car Fuel Consumption and Emission Figures booklet, is a 9% increase on the models available last year, a clear sign of the progress made by manufacturers.
In the latest edition of the VCA guide, there are 408 vehicles which emit 165g/km or less, qualifying drivers for the lowest tax band this year. Of those, 271 emit 155g/km or less, putting them in the lowest tax band of 15% for the 2003/2004 tax year, while 171 emit 145g/km or less, putting them in the lowest tax band until 2005.
The figures also prove that effective management of choice lists can keep fuel bills down for fleet managers and tax bills down for drivers.
Drivers are spoilt for choice if they opt for a diesel, with heavy-oil engines making up 212 of the vehicles in the list. However, drivers of diesel-engined cars pay a 3% supplement on their tax bills, to reflect concerns over the health effects of diesel emissions.
Options include Ford's new Fiesta, with its 1.4-litre TDCi engine, along with 1.4-litre diesel-engined versions of the Renault Clio, Citroen C3, Toyota Yaris, Audi A2, Seat Arosa and Peugeot 206. The 1.5-litre Renault Clio diesel, 1.7-litre Vauxhall Astra and 2.0-litre Peugeot 206 join the list of the 30 vehicles with the lowest CO2 emissions. Drivers looking for larger cars also have a wide variation of models to choose from, including 1.9-litre diesel models from almost the entire Volkswagen Group range, covering Audi, VW, Skoda and SEAT.
Ford's Mondeo in both TDdi and TDCi formats offer emissions of 156g/km, while the new Vauxhall Vectra is likely to be included shortly. Peugeot's 406, the Citroen C5 and the majority of upper-medium fleet contenders are also present. Executive models are also part of the list, including the BMW 320d and diesel versions of the Audi A6 Avant, Rover 75 saloon, Saab 9-3 and Volvo S80.
While engines for diesel drivers range up to 2.2 litres, choices of petrol engines in the low emissions category are more limited, with a maximum of 1.8-litres on offer from manufacturers including Volvo, for the S/V40.
The lowest emissions model is the Smart City Coupe, offering 113g/km, although its diminutive size and 600cc engine limits it to a niche market.
The first mainstream car with a petrol engine to appear in the list, the Perodua Kelisa, emitting 121g/km from its 989cc engine, lies in 39th place.
Larger models include the Honda Jazz 1.4-litre, Vauxhall Corsa 1.0-litre, Renault Clio 1.2-litre, Fiat Punto 1.2, SEAT Ibiza 1.2, Toyota Yaris 1.1, Volkswagen Polo 1.2 and Audi A2 1.4. Drivers looking for a larger vehicle can choose from models including the Honda Civic 1.4 and new 1.4-litre or 1.6-litre Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 206 1.6 and most other mainsteam models.
Choice is more limited for larger cars, with the Proton Impian 1.6 emitting 161g/km and the Mitsubishi Space Star producing 162g/km, while the Renault Megane 1.4 and 1.6 produce 165g/km.
Drivers of alternatively- fuelled vehicles have a number of options that would put them in the lowest tax band, according to the latest figures.
The car listed with the lowest emissions is the Honda Insight hybrid petrol/electric car, with emissions of just 80g/km from its 1.0-litre engine, while the Toyota Prius emits 120g/km from its 1.5-litre engine.
For drivers of liquefied petroleum gas or compressed natural gas-powered vehicles, engine choices range up to 2.5-litres, available from Volvo in the S80, because of the lower emissions the fuel produces.
Vauxhall's LPG range is absent from the guide, despite the manufacturer offering the dual fuel option in almost its entire range.
As part of its publication, the Vehicle Certification Authority has also produced a 13-point guide to ensuring emissions on the road are kept as low possible.
Advice includes the most effective measure, not using the car at all, while other options cover route planning, smooth driving, ensuring vehicle tyre pressures are correct and using the air conditioning sparingly.
The booklet says: 'Compared to improvements in the emissions of toxic pollutants, there has been less progress on reducing CO2 emissions from cars However, there are signs that in the last few years, average fuel consumption has begun to drop in reponse to voluntary agreements by vehicle manufacturers to reduce CO2 emissions.'
Top tips for greener driving
|Top performing cars for carbon dioxide emissions|
|Citroen C3 1.4 HDi||1,398cc||Diesel||110|
|Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 80||1,461cc||Diesel||110|
|Citroen C3 1.4 HDi (70bhp)||1,398cc||Diesel||112|
|MCC Smart City Coupe||599cc||Petrol||113|
|Peugeot 206 1.4 HDi (70bhp)||1,399cc||Diesel||113|
|Toyota Yaris 1.4 D-4D S/GS 3dr||1,364cc||Diesel||113|
|Ford Fiesta 1.4 TDCi CL||1,399cc||Diesel||114|
|Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 65bhp||1,481cc||Diesel||115|
|Ford Fusion 1.4 TDCi||1,399cc||Diesel||116|
|Ford Fiesta 1.4 TDCi LX/Zetec/Ghia||1,399cc||Diesel||117|
|Toyota Yaris 1.4 D-4D GLS/CDX||1,364cc||Diesel||117|
|Toyota Yaris 1.4 D-4D 5-door||1,364cc||Diesel||117|
|Audi A2 (Std/SE/Sport) 1.4||1,422cc||Diesel||117|
|SEAT Arosa 1.4 TDi||1,422cc||Diesel||119|
|Vauxhall Astra ECO4 LS 1.7 DTi||1,686cc||Diesel||119|
|Vauxhall Astra 1.7DTi 16v ECO4||1,686cc||Diesel||119|
|Volkswagen Lupo 1.4 (75bhp)||1,390cc||Diesel||119|
|Volkswagen Lupo 1.7 (60bhp)||1,716cc||Diesel||119|
|Ford Fiesta 1.8 TDdi E-Diesel||1,753cc||Diesel||120|
|Peugeot 206 2.0 HDi (90bhp) ECO||1,997cc||Diesel||120|
|Peugeot 307 1.4 HDi (70bhp)||1,398cc||Diesel||120|
|Toyota Prius 1.5 VVT-i Hybrid||1,497cc||Petrol hybrid||120|
|Perodua Kelisa EX||989cc||Petrol||121|
|Daihatsu Cuore 1.0L EFi||989cc||Petrol||124|
|Peugeot 307 Estate/SW 1.4 HDi (70bhp)||1,398cc||Diesel||124|
|Volkswagen Polo 1.4 TDi PD 75bhp||1,422cc||Diesel||124|
|Vauxhall Corsa 2002 1.7 DTi 16v||1,686cc||Diesel||124|
|Daihatsu Sirion 1.0L EFi||989cc||Petrol||129|
|Fiat Punto JTD||1,910cc||Diesel||130|
|Suzuki Swift 1.0GL/GLS 3dr +5dr||993cc||Petrol||130|
|Vauxhall Astra 2002 1.7DTi 16v||1,686cc||Diesel||132|
|Skoda Fabia Classic 1.9 SDI (64bhp)||1,896cc||Diesel||132|
|Vauxhall Astra 2002 1.7 DTi 16v est||1,686cc||Diesel||132|
|Volkswagen Polo 1.9 SDI 64bhp||1,896cc||Diesel||132|
|Toyota Yaris Verso 1.4 D-4D||1,364cc||Diesel||133|
|Honda Jazz 1.4i-DSI||1,339cc||Petrol||134|
|Honda Civic 1.7 SE||1,686cc||Diesel||134|
|Daihatsu Sirion 1.3L EFi||1,298cc||Petrol||135|
|SEAT Ibiza 1.9 TDi (100bhp)||1,896cc||Diesel||135|