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Diverse Input to Emissions Debate Welcome, SAys Industry

Australia’s peak vehicle industry body has welcomed the Australian Automobile Association’s latest contribution to the emissions discussion but expressed concern that it may serve to confuse or mislead consumers.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries said that the AAA’s attempt to reproduce the European Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test for light vehicles was useful in adding to the important discussion around future emissions and fuel quality standards.

The Chief Executive of the FCAI, Tony Weber, said that car companies are required to conform to an emissions certification standard under a mandated test procedure, ADR 79/04. This test establishes a like-for-like comparison by using standardised laboratory conditions which are recognised the world over.

He said that while the trial of a new on-roads emissions standard in an uncontrolled environment and using parameters which were based on a European standard helped raise awareness of the broader emissions discussion, he expressed concern that it may also serve to confuse consumers.

“Our biggest concern is that the consumer may be confused about which emissions standard to believe: the non-mandated one which cannot be reliably repeated, or the one which is government mandated, conducted in controlled conditions, under very strict protocols, and is replicable time and again across different brands and models,” Mr Weber said.

“The government’s mandated emission rating which appears on the windscreen of every new car sold in Australia is reasonably well understood. But it can only serve as a guide to consumers because of the huge number of variables which exist out on the public road.”

The FCAI began its discussions with the Government some three years ago around the important issues of future vehicle emission standards and fuel quality.

Last year the Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions was announced. The industry has been active in this discussion, scoping potential policy guidelines stretching out to 2030.

As part of that effort, the FCAI has been facilitating and encouraging engine and powertrain experts from around the world to come to Canberra to brief Government and agencies on the issues ahead.

“This is a complicated body of work, and it is ongoing,” Mr Weber said.

Mr Weber said that one of the vital elements in the broader emissions discussion was the need for higher quality standards in the base-grade transport fuel, including a minimum 95 RON octane level and 10 parts per million sulphur in petrol.

“The industry supports harmonisation with international standards wherever possible and we are currently in discussions with the Government over a reasonable and measured timeframe for the introduction of a CO2 standard and a transition to the Euro 6 emissions standard,” he said.