Sustainability industry gets behind fuel emissions standards

By Lauren Davis
Friday, 14 July, 2017

The Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions is currently considering implementing new standards surrounding fuel, emissions and efficiency for vehicles sold in Australia, with the forum intending to provide a draft implementation plan to the Australian Government later this year.

The forum’s consultation paper indicates that the proposed model could cut costs to customers by up to $28 billion by 2040, with annual fuel savings for the average owner of a passenger car and light commercial vehicle of up to $519 and $666 respectively. It is thus in the best interests of Australian families for the plan to be accepted, according to Energy Efficiency Council CEO Luke Menzel.

“Places like Europe and the US have already acted to require car manufacturers to sell family cars that meet a minimum level of efficiency,” said Menzel, who claimed minimum standards are an important consumer protection which ensures that industry does the right thing.

“Governments need to put these rules in place so that when you buy a car, you know you are getting a basic level of fuel efficiency,” he said.

“If Minister Frydenberg puts these new standards in place, he’ll be ensuring Aussie families save money at the petrol pump year in, year out.”

Energy Networks Australia has also voiced its support for the plan, with CEO John Bradley stating that the decarbonisation of the Australian economy “requires all sectors to play their part”.

“While the focus has been on the electricity generation sector, there are also opportunities for decarbonising transport in Australia — the road transport sector accounted for 79 million tonnes of CO2e in 2015, or 85% of total transport emissions. Light vehicles accounted for 72% of road transport emissions,” Bradley noted.

“Appropriate fuel efficiency standards can support technology-neutral emissions reduction and better outcomes for customers and the environment — without direct subsidies to particular solutions,” he said.

The proposed standards caused quite a stir this week, with the automotive industry likening the plan to a ‘carbon tax on cars’ that would see Australian families pay dramatically increased prices for popular vehicles. Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has since dismissed such claims, noting that the consultations on fuel efficiency standards have been ongoing since October 2015 and that no final decision has been made.

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