Fuel Efficiency Standards Need Greater Acceleration

“While it’s good to see Australia move incrementally forward, the longer we delay setting real fuel efficiency standards the harder it will be to meet our 2030 target,” said Noah Schultz-Byard, SA Director at the Australia Institute.

“When you start from behind, as Australia is on EV policy, you can’t catch up by going slower than everybody else. The longer we keep subsidising big 4-wheel-drive utes the longer they will keep topping sales charts and polluting.

“Other countries have shown that reducing emissions from the transport sector is one of the easiest ways to reduce emissions, and because our car fleet is so big and inefficient, and because our bus fleet has so few electric buses, Australia has enormous opportunities to rapidly drive transport emissions down, if it is willing to implement the necessary policies.

“Until Australia adopts fuel efficiency standards in line with major vehicle markets like New Zealand and the EU, we will remain a dumping ground for older, dirtier and more inefficient vehicles.

“Australia Institute research has shown that our nation’s vehicle fleet is 24% less efficient than in the UK, despite the UK having a higher portion of its population outside of major cities.

“Furthermore, under a business-as-usual approach, any emissions reductions achieved via EV adoption will be cancelled out by the increasing popularity of big utes and SUVs, which are supported by preferential tax arrangements in Australia.

“To bring down transport emissions, subsidies for large, polluting vehicles need to end, public and active transport options need to be supported, and our policies around fuel efficiency standards need to be at least as strict as those already in place around the world.

“Transport is so much more than cars – electric vehicles are not an option for much of the population. We need creative and equitable policy to provide clean transport options for all Australians.”

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