Australia's diesel emissions are rising


Monday, 07 March, 2016

Australia's diesel emissions are rising

The March 2016 Carbon Emissions Index (CEDEX) Report, released by pitt&sherry and The Australia Institute (TAI), indicates that emissions have risen by an amount equal to 2.2% of total national emissions in the 18 months to December 2015.

Electricity generation continues to be the greatest contributor to emissions, principally through black and brown coal generation, with petroleum and diesel not far behind. In particular, the consumption of diesel via road transport and mining has risen significantly compared to sectors such as agriculture, which has remained relatively flat.

According to data published in 2015 for the preceding financial year by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, the total Australian road freight increased at an average compound rate of 2.6% pa between 2005–06 and 2012–13. By contrast, road transport diesel consumption grew by an average annual compound rate of 4.6% over the same period, indicating a major shift from petrol to diesel as a fuel for light vehicles. The mining industry has contributed some 49% of diesel consumption, increasing in the order of 125% since 2008.

“The shift by new car purchasers to diesel engines in recent years has certainly played a part in emissions reduction, but the increased number of vehicles may have offset that advantage,” said Dr Hugh Saddler, senior principal – energy strategies at pitt&sherry.

“In terms of freight transport, the use of rail for moving some of the goods currently transported by road would significantly reduce the emissions created by trucks. On a per tonnage and kilometre measure, the amount of diesel emissions via rail would be significantly lower than for the same tonnage and distance using trucks.”

Matt Hyatt, group executive – Victoria of pitt&sherry, added, “The data clearly demonstrates the trend towards diesel usage in light commercial vehicles and an increase in freight and commercial activity. It is important, therefore, to look at reducing traffic congestion in the major cities.

“In addition, projects such as the heavy haul rail infrastructure at Moorebank Integrated Precinct in Sydney highlights that investment in rail infrastructure will reduce the congestion and wear on our road networks.”

To view the report, visit

Image caption: Annual consumption of diesel by economic sector.

Originally published here.

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