National fuel efficiency standard puts Australia on the road to fuel and pollution savings

04.02.24 By

Proposed settings for a strong fuel efficiency standard announced today by the Federal Government will give Aussies better access to cleaner cars that are cheaper to run.  

The Climate Council welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement of a simple and transparent standard for new cars which will get Australia on track with countries like us to clean up our fleet of light vehicles. The proposed settings will deliver more choice for people in our cities and regions, by increasing access to all kinds of lower and zero emissions cars, vans and utes.

The Federal Government now needs to put the pedal to the metal and lock in these strong settings before the end of 2024 so Australians can start saving.

Climate Council CEO, Amanda McKenzie, said: “Today’s important announcement gets us off the starter’s grid and on the road to cheaper, cleaner transport.  

“Many Australians are doing it tough right now, with petrol one of the expenses causing the most financial stress for households. At the same time, pollution from inefficient petrol-guzzling cars is fuelling harmful climate change.

“By giving Australians better choice of cleaner, cheaper-to-run cars, a strong fuel efficiency standard will cut household costs and clean up our air.”

Climate Councillor and energy expert, Greg Bourne, said: “A fuel efficiency standard will benefit all Australians – no matter what type of new car they are buying.

“Aussie drivers who have long commutes from our suburbs and regions are hurt the most by high and rising petrol bills. This means they’ll also see the biggest benefits from getting access to a wider range of affordable lower and zero emissions vehicles that are cheaper to run. 

“Australians – especially those in our suburbs and regions – deserve access to the same choice of affordable, clean and safe cars that are already being sold in their millions overseas. A strong fuel efficiency standard can help deliver this.”

Fuel efficiency standards should be accompanied by other policies that support and enable the uptake of low and zero emissions vehicles. The National Electric Vehicle Strategy’s focus on improving the availability of charging infrastructure and incentivising uptake of the cleanest vehicles remains important to prepare our roads for this transition.

Learn more about Fuel Efficiency Standards here.

View the Climate Council’s Fuel Efficiency Standards Consultation submission here.

Background: What is a Fuel Efficiency Standard? 

A fuel efficiency standard is the key to unlocking the supply of lower and zero emissions vehicles in Australia. They aim to limit the greenhouse gas emissions from Australia’s fleet of cars. They do this by setting a maximum average level of carbon emissions allowed across a manufacturer’s overall new car sales. 

In short, they provide incentives for car makers to supply lower and zero emissions vehicles – and penalise them for failing to do so. Over time, as the fuel efficiency standard is tightened (meaning the maximum amount of CO₂ that can be emitted is reduced), car markers must sell higher numbers of lower and zero emissions vehicles to avoid penalties.

A fuel efficiency standard only applies to new cars. They incentivise increased supply of both electric vehicles and the most efficient standard vehicles.

For interviews please contact Zerene Catacutan on 0438 972 260; or the Climate Council’s media team on 0485 863 063,

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. It was founded through community donations in 2013, immediately after the then-Abbott Government dismantled the Climate Commission. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

For further information, go to:

Or follow us on social media: and