The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Darwin tomorrow should introduce fuel efficiency standards for new cars and trucks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel bills, and safeguard the future of Australian car manufacturing, Environment Victoria said today.
Environment Victoria’s campaigns director Mark Wakeham said the COAG meeting was an important opportunity to renew Australia’s inefficient car fleet.
“A move by state and federal governments to introduce mandatory fuel efficiency standards would safeguard the future of the Australian car industry, save consumers billions of dollars at the petrol bowser each year and reduce our reliance on oil imported from conflict zones,” he said.
“Strong vehicle fuel efficiency standards would also achieve more than any other measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector. Combined with more investment in public transport and better urban planning, such a move would prepare us well for a low carbon future.
“If Australian car manufacturers want to remain viable and relevant in the future they would do well to embrace mandatory vehicle emissions standards.
“Europe, Japan, China, Korea and now the US have all legislated for low emissions vehicles. If we fail to follow suit, our export markets will dry up and our car manufacturing industry will collapse. No one will want to buy our large, inefficient new vehicles.”
Mr Wakeham said the calls from Australian car manufacturers for a voluntary standard were disappointing.
“We’ve had voluntary standards for the past three decades and they have failed. The Australian car fleet is no more fuel efficient than it was 40 years ago as cars have become heavier and larger,” he said.
“Car makers have already received $1.3 billion from the Rudd Government to make the transition to cleaner vehicles. Such support is necessary, but so is a genuine commitment to reducing emissions.
“With the Rudd Government’s renewable energy target and inadequate emissions trading scheme hitting troubled waters, we urgently need complementary measures to stop our greenhouse pollution from continuing to rise.
“In Darwin tomorrow, Australian governments should introduce an average fleet standard of 5 litres per kilometer or better for all cars sold in Australia by 2015.
“They should also strive to at least match the European Union emissions intensity standard of 130 grams of CO2 by 2012. This would be a substantial initiative and act of leadership in the lead up to climate negotiations in Copenhagen.”
For more information, please contact Mark Wakeham on 0439 700 501.