The release of discussion papers seeking to improve the efficiency of light vehicles and vehicle emissions through better fuel standards was warmly welcomed yesterday by Australia’s vehicle industry and its representative peak body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).
The industry has always firmly supported a mandated target for new cars which is tailored to the Australian market, taking into consideration consumer choice, consumer driving conditions, market fuel and infrastructure.
While the CO2 contribution made by Australia’s annual sales of new passenger cars, SUVs and light commercial vehicles is very low (less than one per cent of Australia’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions), nonetheless Australia’s vehicle industry recognises it has a role to play in emissions reductions and is committed to developing and delivering new technologies to reduce CO2 emissions.
In welcoming the Government’s two new Draft Regulation Impact Statements (RIS) on improving the efficiency of new light vehicles; and vehicle emission standards for cleaner air, as well as a discussion paper on better fuel for cleaner air, FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said the FCAI will continue to work closely with the Government on pursuing the best outcomes for Australian consumers and he was pleased the Government recognised the inter-relationship of fuels, pollutant emissions and CO2 emissions in its discussion papers.
“It’s noteworthy that these important policy-framing Government documents have all been released at the same time because all of these elements will be hugely influential in the composition of our vehicle fleet and the type of cars consumers can buy in 10 or 20 years’ time,” Mr Weber said.
“Our automotive industry is committed to introducing new technology for new motor vehicles which achieves continued emissions reductions in Australia. The key to achieving the best possible outcome is an integrated approach, and a key plank of this approach is giving consumers genuine, hip-pocket incentives to change their car-buying preferences.”
Mr Weber noted that emerging technologies, such as automated and connected vehicles including hydrogen and electric variants, present another opportunity to achieve further emission reductions in the longer term
“To effectively introduce a range of low-emissions vehicles, it is important the industry and government work together to provide the appropriate infrastructure. In countries such as Japan, Government-led consumer incentives and infrastructure investment played significant roles in the uptake of vehicles with these technologies,” he said.
“CO2 emissions from light vehicles can also be reduced through improved driving habits. Public education and awareness-raising may provide drivers with techniques to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Such education may also improve road safety.”
Mr Weber said that all the most informed research by global automotive industry research experts shows that Australia needs its own solution for emissions reductions.
“Australia is not the same driving or market environment as Europe or the United States. We have our own driving needs and our particular consumer requirements,” Mr Weber said.
“Australian consumers want choice, and they also want access to affordable, low emission, new technology vehicles. The challenge ahead for government and industry is to find a solution which works for our specific market.”