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Consumer Preference Carries More Weight in Emissions Discussion

A report released today by the National Transport Commission (NTC) supports the motor industry’s view that the purchasing preferences and driving needs of Australian vehicle buyers must be an important consideration in any future emissions target discussion.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the nation’s peak automotive body, said the NTC’s Carbon Emissions Intensity for New Australian Light Vehicles report confirmed that Australia’s ever-increasing preference for Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and light commercials was one of several important components to the discussion, including the industry’s need for fuel quality to pave the wave for new engine technologies.

“The only issues standing between Australia having a better CO2 outcome is fuel quality, of which we have some of lowest quality in the OECD, and consumer choice,” The FCAI’s Chief Executive Tony Weber said.

“We at the FCAI think that maintaining consumer choice is important.”

Despite a shift in buyer preference which has seen the combined market share of SUVs and light commercials grow by 29 per cent over the past five years, it was important to note that the NTC report found national new light vehicle carbon emissions had declined by 0.3 per cent between 2016 and 2017.

Also of interest was that the NTC report found that there were now 97 models of “green” vehicles available for sale in Australia in 2017, up from 51 in 2017.

Its investigations also revealed that “if all Australians who purchased a new vehicle in Australia [in 2017] had purchased ones with best-in-class emissions, the national carbon emissions  intensity would have been reduced by 58 per cent to 76g/km”.

The NTC found the take-up of electric vehicles in 2017 increased by 77 per cent over 2016 to 2,424 vehicles sold. This EV volume was within a total market of 1.15 million new light vehicles sold in 2017.

The need for a realistic, mandated CO2 and emissions standard that is relevant for Australia, its consumers and our driving conditions has been promulgated consistently by the FCAI over a number of years.

Tony Weber said the NTC report confirmed what Australian new vehicle buyers already identified as important to them: access to the widest possible vehicle choice and diversity to suit work and lifestyle requirements, as well as the more prosaic needs of mining, agriculture and industry.