The Labor party has announced a plan to implement fuel efficiency standards, with a focus on saving motorists $1,000 annually on petrol costs.
The Albanese administration has revealed its highly-anticipated proposal for fuel efficiency requirements for new vehicles while emphasizing potential annual savings of $1,000 and anticipating a scare campaign led by the Coalition.
The announced plan, revealed on Sunday, would set an annual limit on the emissions produced by newly purchased cars in Australia. This would encourage car manufacturers to offer low and zero-emission vehicles, while penalizing those that do not.
The government announced that a law will be introduced to federal parliament in the first half of 2024 to establish standards for new passenger and light commercial vehicles. These standards will go into effect in January 2025 and will only apply to these types of vehicles.
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Australia is one of the few countries in the OECD, along with Russia, that does not have standards in place. Industry experts have consistently cautioned that this has led to manufacturers using Australia as a destination for vehicles that have higher levels of pollution, as there are no consequences for doing so.
The government’s chosen plan is projected to result in a decrease of 369 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.2
By the year 2050, this amount will be equivalent to the emissions produced by light vehicles in Australia over the past six years.
Chris Bowen, the minister in charge of addressing climate change, presented the new standards as a way to reduce expenses for consumers. He pointed out that vehicles sold in Australia are approximately 40% less efficient than those sold in the EU.
Bowen stated that Australians are overpaying for gasoline.
From January 1, 2025, car companies that do not meet the required standards for their entire fleet will be subject to a monetary punishment. The suggested penalty is $100 for each gram that exceeds the designated limit.
On Sunday, Bowen stated that it is expected for companies to follow the law. He also mentioned that companies dislike the negative publicity that comes with failing to meet fuel emissions standards, which is why this system is effective in all similar countries.
A government report stated that implementing new standards would result in a savings of $5,170 for new car owners over five years. Additionally, it projected that Australians could save approximately $17,000 on fuel costs over the lifespan of their vehicle.
Behyad Jafari, the chief executive of the Electric Vehicle Council, expressed approval for the announcement and concurred that the new standards would result in cost savings for consumers and increase their options.
According to Jafari, due to the neglect of past federal administrations to implement new vehicle efficiency regulations, certain car companies have used Australia as a place to dispose of their least efficient models.
The CEO of the Climate Council, Amanda McKenzie, urged for the speedy implementation of the standards by the end of 2024.
According to McKenzie, a significant number of Australians are currently facing difficulties due to the high cost of petrol. This expense is causing a lot of financial strain for households. Additionally, the emissions from cars that consume a lot of petrol are contributing to harmful climate change.
The NRMA stated that the new standards were a feasible and responsible choice that would decrease emissions, save money for consumers, and promote competition.
According to the chief executive of NRMA, Rohan Lund, Australia cannot persist with voluntary targets as it hinders our ability to make choices. The NRMA strongly supports the freedom of choice for motorists to purchase the vehicles they desire to drive.
The traditional method of operation resulted in Australian families and businesses missing out on the most efficient technology for reducing fuel usage.
Although receiving compliments from various industry organizations, top officials are aware that the opposition may attempt to replicate the fear tactics used during the 2019 national election.
Scott Morrison, who was the prime minister at the time, stated that Labor’s plan for electric vehicles would put an end to weekend activities.
“Allow me to anticipate some fear-mongering tactics,” stated Bowen. “This does not mandate car manufacturers to refrain from sending a specific brand or model to Australia. It does not limit what Australians are able to purchase. You are still able to purchase a pre-owned SUV or a pickup truck, or any other vehicle of your choosing.”
David Littleproud, the Nationals leader, accused the government of attempting to seize the rural utility vehicle and of showing bias against individuals living in regional areas on Sunday.
Littleproud, speaking to the Nine Network, stated that we must not allow ideology to hinder practical reality.
Removing utility vehicles is detrimental to both urban and rural individuals as they serve as essential work equipment for not only tradespeople in cities but also those in more remote areas. Additionally, adding a significant amount of weight to an electric utility vehicle severely limits its range.