Majority of Australians Support EV Policies, Including Subsidies for New Car Purchases

New research from The Australia Institute shows the majority of Australians support both a government policy subsidising the purchase of new electric vehicles and a ban on the sale of new fossil fuelled cars by 2035.

The Australia Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of Australians about electric vehicle policies in January and March of 2021. The research is being released ahead of a briefing on transport emissions, hosted by the Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action in Parliament House today.

Key results:

  • Two in three Australians (62%) agree that the government should introduce subsidies for the purchase of EVs.
    • This includes 65% of Coalition voters and 64% of Labor voters.
  • Over half of Australians (57%) support a ban on the sale of new fossil fuelled vehicles from 2035.
    • Half of Coalition voters (49%) support a 2035 ban, with one in four (28%) opposed. Two in three Labor voters (65%) and three in four Greens voters (76%) support a 2035 ban.

“This polling shows that the Australian public across the political spectrum have a huge appetite for change. They are ready to move on from internal combustion vehicles to the future of transport,” said Warringah MP Zali Steggall.

“It’s clear the community want more support to make the transition. We absolutely need to reduce the upfront purchase price of these vehicles and provide adequate charging infrastructure to make this change viable to Australian families.

“Australia would do well to follow the example of the United Kingdom and ban the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030. This line in the sand will send a strong signal to car manufacturers to send zero emissions vehicles to Australia.

“In the absence of Federal co-ordination and action, we have policy chaos. The states are introducing EV taxes which threaten the already small market. The Federal Government has to step up and provide leadership and incentives.

“The numbers are clear Australia is behind the rest of the world. Only 0.7% of new cars sold in Australia are electric vehicles. In Norway, 75% of all new cars sold are electric vehicles. Way more can be done,” Ms Steggall said.

Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Director at The Australia Institute, agreed.

“The Government might be dragging its heels on electric vehicle policy but Australians, including Coalition voters, are ready to make the switch,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Director at The Australia Institute.

“Unlike Scott Morrison, Australians can see that EVs will not ruin the weekend. Australians want the government to make it easier for them to get behind the wheel of an EV and for the sale of petrol cars to be phased out sooner rather than later.

“While the Victorian State Government is forging ahead with its wrong-headed attempt to introduce a tax on EVs, the majority of Australians actually want incentives to drive the uptake of zero emissions vehicles higher.

“A majority of voters across the country and in every age group back these policies but, for some reason, the government is refusing to support the uptake of EVs in Australia in any meaningful way.

“It’s time to turbo-charge electric vehicle policy in Australia but, when it comes to supporting the transport technologies of the future, this government has its foot firmly on the brake,” said Mr Merzian.

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Anna Chang Communications Director

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anna@australiainstitute.org.au