Hundreds of vehicles ranging from superminis to executive cars are listed in the new guide, which takes into account not only carbon dioxide emissions but also other key factors such as particulates, hydrocarbons and whether the engine is classed as Euro II, III or IV compliant. Vehicles receive a maximum of four stars, based on their performance in two categories, carbon dioxide and other toxic emissions.
Fleets are also provided with fuel cost estimates over 6,000 miles to provide an at-a-glance guide to vehicle fuel costs.
The database, created by the AA, can be searched by manufacturer, market segment, or listed according to fuel costs per 6,000 miles. However, only vehicles in the same category can be compared, so supermini results could not be benchmarked against lower-medium star ratings.
John Stubbs, head of technical policy at the AA, said: 'This provides a workable template for a combined emissions ratings system that could be adopted in Europe. 'The official Euro II, III and IV emissions ratings compare only toxic emissions, while carbon dioxide emissions remain a separate figure.
'Environmental impact is only part of the selection process but for those fleets that see emissions as an important factor in deciding which car to buy, they can now find the top, medium and worst performers of a specific type in a single list.'
Earlier this month, fleet decision-makers heard that carbon dioxide-based company car tax could be scrapped after 2010 in favour of a new mileage-based system, relying on telematics, sparking debate about the best way to tax company cars.
The claims were made at the Fleet News and Fleet NewsNet Move Your Fleet Online conference, sponsored by Inchcape Fleet Solutions and held in association with the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.
Roger King, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, said: 'Distance-based charges will be introduced on 500,000 lorries by 2005 and you can be certain that if the scheme is a success then you will see a similar one being introduced on company cars after 2010.'
But Stubbs said an emissions-based scheme would be the way ahead for Europe, adding: 'This sort of scheme should be considered. But the website also immediately provides fleets with a good idea of how cars in the same band compare when looking at their overall emissions to help them with making vehicle choices.' To access the website, go to What do you think? Email firstname.lastname@example.org