Australia Plans Fuel-Efficiency Rules for Cars That US Had in the 1970s

Australia Plans Fuel-Efficiency Rules for Cars That US Had in the 1970s

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(Bloomberg) — Australia’s government has proposed fuel efficiency standards for some vehicles, which would bring the country in line with rules introduced in the US about 50 years ago. 

The government’s preferred standard, released Sunday, would only apply to new passenger and light commercial vehicles, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday. Under the proposal, manufacturers would be set an average carbon dioxide target for the vehicles they produce, and would receive credits for meeting them and would be penalized for missing them.

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“The new vehicles that are sold here in Australia are 40% less efficient than those vehicles in the European Union and 20% less efficient than the US,” King said, adding the move would start in 2025 and would bring Australia in line with the US by 2028. “The US has had efficiency standards since the 1970s. It is time that Australia had the same because there are significant fuel savings, significant savings for Australian consumers.”  

Motorists would save A$100 billion ($65.1 billion) in fuel costs by 2050, according to the government. The transport sector accounts for 16% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, with light vehicles making up around 11%. The International Energy Agency has said replacing conventional cars with electric vehicles is a “key part of reaching net zero emissions by mid-century.”

The government says its preferred option would cut CO2 emissions by 369 million tons by 2050, an amount equivalent to the last six years of total emissions from light vehicles in Australia.

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The Motor Trades Association of Australia, which represents the auto sector, said it had taken “three governments and 12 years to reach this point.”

“The whole industry knows putting in place a fuel efficiency standard is the right way to go,” MTAA Chief Executive Officer Matt Hobbs said in an emailed statement Sunday. “The argument is just about the fine details. We score the government a seven out of 10, so far.”

Uber Australia’s Managing Director Dom Taylor told The Guardian that introducing the new standards would attract more affordable EV models to Australia. It would mean the country would catch up to its international peers and have a meaningful impact on emissions targets, Taylor was quoted as saying. 

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