Let’s put the pedal to the metal on fuel efficiency standards

19.04.23 By
This content is more than one year old

AUSTRALIA NEEDS STRONG fuel efficiency standards delivered as soon as possible to save drivers money and clean up the air we all breathe. The Climate Council welcomes today’s release of the National Electric Vehicle Strategy with fuel efficiency standards at the centre, and has laid out five top design priorities to ensure households benefit. 

Dr Jennifer Rayner, Climate Council Head of Advocacy, said: “Australians want cleaner and cheaper vehicles. Households are currently spending almost $100 a week on fuel bills, which adds to cost-of-living pressures.

“Because Australia doesn’t have fuel efficiency standards, we have become a dumping ground for expensive, polluting, petrol-guzzling vehicles. This is forcing too many Australians to keep forking out for cars that hurt household budgets, our health, and our environment.

“Strong fuel efficiency standards are the key to unlocking supply of the cleanest and cheapest-to-run cars for Australia – including electric ones. The government and industry will be driving with a flat tyre in trying to deliver the rest of the National Electric Vehicle Strategy if we don’t get these in place soon.”

Climate Council is calling for fuel efficiency standards that:

Fuel efficiency standards should be accompanied by other policies that support and enable the uptake of lower 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 is important and welcome. 

But the Government could go further – by reviewing current tax incentives which skew purchases towards heavier and higher emitting vehicles, and supporting those on lower incomes to swap older, more polluting cars for ones that are cleaner and cheaper to run.

“The Federal Government needs to put the pedal to the metal in delivering strong fuel efficiency standards. There are around a million new cars sold in Australia each year so we need to act fast to give drivers more choice and see them start saving,” Dr Rayner said.

Learn more about Fuel Efficiency Standards here

View the Climate Council’s submission to the National Electric Vehicle Strategy here

Background: What are Fuel Efficiency Standards? Fuel efficiency standards are 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.

For interviews please contact Zerene Catacutan on 0438 972 260 or zerene.catacutan@climatecouncil.org.au 

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

For further information, go to: climatecouncil.org.au or follow us on social media: facebook.com/climatecouncil and twitter.com/climatecouncil