The Australian Institute has released a report outlining that $5.9 billion in fuel costs could have been saved if fuel efficiency standards were adopted in 2015.
“Australians are being left behind simply because, as a nation, we are still accepting gas-guzzling cars with no emissions standards. This is costing commuters money at the petrol pump and holding Australia back from reducing our emissions,” said Richie Merzian, the climate and energy program director at the Australian Institute.
“Fuel efficiency standards are a widespread and modest policy mechanism used by policymakers globally to ensure new cars are more efficient and less polluting. These standards exist across 80 per cent of the vehicle market but not in Australia despite numerous reports, inquiries and government commitments saying we need them.
“The new government has a golden opportunity to implement robust fuel efficiency standards in line with Europe. The policy is popular, helps Australians with cost-of-living, and will help drive the uptake of cleaner vehicles.”
Clearly the caps have a signicant influence on clean air quality in cities. This simulated graphic gives an indication of Bangkok's AQI (92%) and London's AQI (25%). Clearly Thailand, like many nations has a long way to go.Fuel efficiency standards measure the efficiency of a vehicle and how it consumes fuel. The calculation made to determine the fuel efficiency of a vehicle is applied to vehicles sold within a country, adding to a total fleet cap.
Effectively, it’s a cap placed on how many vehicles can be sold by a car maker without fuel-efficient vehicles (like hybrids and EVs) being added to the equation. Selling these fuel-efficient vehicles typically alleviates the fleet cap, balancing sales out. If too many non-fuel efficient vehicles are sold, the car maker may be penalised.
Additionally, effective fuel efficiency standards need to be in line with other countries, otherwise a country like Australia that, hypothetically, introduced weak standards, will still only get less efficient vehicles than European markets. If we’re getting standards, they need to be strong.
In 2018, the average carbon dioxide intensity for new passenger vehicles in Australia was 169.8gCO2/km compared to 129.9gCO2/km in the United States, 120.4gCO2/km in Europe and 114.6gCO2/km in Japan.
Then, of course there's the issue of diesel emissions. The EU is introducing tough new standards, and phasing out diesel subsidies - a tough decision given the popularity of diesel in Europe, and the USA.
Companies, like Volkswagen, have shown that it’s possible to bring tailpipe emissions down to around 90gCO2/km.
This would extend the life of ICE cars, making the transition to zero-emission vehicles far easier, more affordable, and best of all totally practical.