FCAI Chief Executive, Ian Chalmers, noted today that significant improvements in vehicle technology have resulted in new cars in the Australian market recording their lowest ever carbon dioxide emissions.
Mr Chalmers highlighted this achievement while responding to a report from the National Transport Commission (NTC).
“The average new car sold in Australia is now at least 20 per cent more efficient than it was in 2000,” Mr Chalmers said. “It is the preferences of Australian car buyers, however, that ultimately will determine the fleet’s CO2 profile.”
While 2011 auto sales were down slightly on 2010 figures, a total of 1,008,437 new passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were delivered to customers last year.
CO2 emission reduction is only one of the factors that buyers take into account when choosing a new vehicle.
In 2011 car buyers showed a strong preference for vehicles that met their aspirations and their needs: small car sales increased by 2.1 per cent from 2010, luxury SUVs by 22.4 per cent and 4x4 light commercials by 6.3 per cent. A similar trend is continuing this year.
The National Average Carbon Emission (NACE) figure for the vehicles sold in 2011 was 206.6 grams of CO2 per kilometer, which is down 2.8 per cent compared to the 2010 figure of 212.6 grams of CO2/km.
“This is one of the most significant yearly improvements in the NACE figure and demonstrates the industry’s commitment to continue to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” Mr Chalmers said.
“The result is a combination of improvements in vehicle technology and a change in consumer buying preferences toward lower emission vehicles.
“There has been a strong uptake in new-generation diesel and hybrid powered vehicles by consumers. In addition, ongoing efficiency improvements in average emissions from petrol powered vehicles by almost 7 per cent indicates that consumers are continuing to purchase more efficient models across the new vehicle fleet.”
Mr Chalmers welcomed the NTC report as a useful addition to discussion on the auto industry’s CO2 emissions, but emphasised that purchasing a more fuel efficient vehicle is only one part of the solution to reducing emissions from passenger transport.
“A comprehensive strategy to reduce emissions from vehicles is needed – which includes vehicle maintenance, removing inefficient vehicles from the fleet, driver behaviour, road congestion and public transport,” Mr Chalmers said.
“It is also important to note, as the NTC report does, that there are a number of reasons for differences between individual brands and across sectors. Vehicle model ranges differ with different manufacturers and conditions in Europe are different from those in Australia due to a range of factors including fuel prices and consumer preferences.
“Carbon dioxide emissions from new vehicles have reduced significantly without regulation and the industry now looks forward to working constructively with the Federal Government in developing an achievable mandatory emission standard for 2015.”
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