Better fuel standards would save Aussie motorists up to $1200 a year.
That’s the finding of new modelling commissioned by the Climate Council and Electric Vehicle Council.
The analysis by economics advisory firm Mandala Partners found that Australians could share in up to $13.6 billion in net benefits by 2035 from reduced vehicle running costs, cleaner air and less environmental damage — if we design new fuel efficiency standards well.
It says strong fuel efficiency standards would result in up to 31 million fewer tonnes of harmful pollution over the next decade, and rapidly increase the number of low and zero emissions vehicles available to buy.
Fuel efficiency standards aim to limit greenhouse gas emissions from Australia’s fleet of cars.
They do this by setting a maximum average level of carbon emissions allowed across a manufacturer’s overall new car sales.
In short, they provide incentives for car makers to supply lower and zero emissions vehicles – and penalise them for failing to do so.
As standards are tightened over time, which would see the maximum amount of CO₂ that can be emitted reduced, car makers will be forced to sell larger numbers of lower and zero emissions vehicles to avoid penalties.
Climate Council’s Jennifer Rayner said Australia is lagging behind as one of the only wealthy countries lacking fuel efficiency standards, which already cover 80 percent of the global car market.
Dr Rayner said the modelling underlines that a strong fuel efficiency standard will deliver huge benefits for Australians in cheaper running costs for vehicles, while also reducing pollution and climate harm from transport emissions.
“This means Australians can keep more of their hard-earned cash – instead of watching it rapidly drain away at the petrol bowser,” she said.
“Australia cannot remain a dumping ground for expensive, polluting vehicles that cost our hip-pockets, health, and environment.
“Every day we wait to put in place strong fuel efficiency standards means Australians are paying more than they should for fuel, and pumping out more harmful pollution.”
Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari said a well-designed new vehicle efficiency standard is crucial if we want to end Australia’s reputation as the dumping ground for dated, high-emission vehicles.
“A strong standard will let us catch up to the rest of the developed world where we can finally embrace greener, cheaper, more efficient cars,” he said.
“Sticking with the status quo would not only be environmentally destructive but also expensive.
“This research proves the simple truth, that a globally competitive efficiency standard for cars will save motorists money.
“Under a new vehicle efficiency standard, lower running costs and increased competition would drive a reduction in the overall cost of both electric and efficient internal combustion engine vehicles by up to thousands of dollars.
“It’s clear that a strong standard will improve the efficiency of new vehicles, increase the supply of electric vehicles, reduce CO2 emissions, bring health benefits by reducing air pollutants, and save motorists money.
“We encourage the federal government to build a compulsory, competitive efficiency standard so that Australians can reap these benefits as soon as possible.”
Energy expert Greg Bourne said Australian drivers will win from strong fuel efficiency standards, whether they’re buying a more efficient vehicle or an electric one.
“These standards are a critical policy lever the federal government can pull to help us catch up to the rest of the world, but the benefits will only be as good as the strength of the policy we settle on,” he said.