Vehicle emission standards will deliver net benefits, not costs

Claims that the federal government is planning to introduce a ‘carbon tax’ on cars leading to an increase in costs for consumers are misleading and act against the best interest of motorists, according to ClimateWorks Australia.

ClimateWorks Australia Head of Implementation, Scott Ferraro said the proposed introduction of light vehicle emission standards would provide net savings to consumers, ensure that Australians have access to the latest vehicle technologies, and substantially reduce emissions from the transport sector.

“The government’s own modelling shows that an average motorist purchasing an average performing passenger vehicle in 2025, could save $519 per year in fuel costs based on the proposed target,” he said.

“Based on 2012 household energy costs data, this would cut household energy costs by up to 10 per cent, with even greater savings for low-income households. That same modelling shows that these standards will provide net economic benefits of $13.9 billion to 2040.”

Mr Ferraro said the standards would also encourage car manufacturers to bring the latest vehicle models and technologies to Australia, which consumers are currently missing out on.

“Currently, the uptake of electric and other low emission vehicles in Australia is slow and the industry are saying this is in large part due to a lack of standards and other incentives,” he said.

“Last year the improvement in fuel efficiency of new cars in Australia dropped to its lowest rate over the last 10 years. We are now well behind the European Union in terms of performance, and set to fall behind the US market, which is at a similar level of improvement being proposed by the government.

“The claim that these standards, which are in place in over 80 per cent of global automotive markets, are akin to carbon tax is incredibly misleading. The government has called out this scaremongering, which runs counter to positive actions we can take to improve fuel efficiency and provide cost savings to motorists.

“The proposed standard would apply as an average across all vehicles sold by a manufacturer. These standards allow manufacturers to sell vehicles with emissions higher than the standard as long as they are balanced out by lower emission vehicles, and Australians would still have access to the variety of vehicles they currently enjoy.

“This means there may not be any cost increase from potential penalties under these standards. It will come down to how proactive a manufacturer can be in bringing new, fuel efficient models to market.

“This regulation will drive manufacturers to improve the efficiency of vehicles on sale in Australia, which is ultimately a good thing for Australian motorists.”

Media Contact: Aileen Muldoon 0419 112 503

* ClimateWorks Australia is an expert, independent adviser, committed to helping Australia transition to net zero emissions by 2050. It was co-founded through a partnership between The Myer Foundation and Monash University and works within the Monash Sustainable Development Institute.