Call to raise the bar on vehicle emissions

If Australia were to adopt global best practices regarding vehicle emissions, fuel consumption and cost could be cut in half, according to a February 24 report from ClimateWorks Australia.

ClimateWorks has urged the federal government to introduce global light vehicle emission standards within the next two years in order to achieve benefits already seen in Europe and the United States.

Recent research from ClimateWorks - in partnership with transport analysts Rare Consulting - shows the adoption of these best practice solutions would provide significant benefits for individual consumers, fleet management teams and the environment.

Anna Starbek, Executive Director at ClimateWorks, explained that most major developed countries already have these practices in place yet Australia has no emission standards for light vehicles. As a result, Ms Starbek believes Australians are spending more on fuel than they should be.

"Our analysis looked at introducing best practice standards for light vehicles, targeting an average performance of 95 gCO2/km by 2024. This would achieve more than a 50 per cent reduction in the average vehicle's fuel use over 10 years compared to our current average of 199 gCO2/km," she said.

"This is akin to adopting the EU's standards for passenger vehicles with a four year lag, and matching the US ambition of improving fuel efficiency by 50 per cent."

Ms Starbek revealed that even when taking the rising cost of fuel into account, the emission standards would result in the average driver paying less for fuel per annum in 2020 than they do today.

With these standards in place, fleet drivers travelling an average of 20,000 kilometres each year could save up to $1,200 per annum on car fuel consumption costs.

"However, the Government needs to take action to ensure Australia has best practice emission standards in place within two years so they can start to have an impact by 2020," ClimateWorks Acting Head of Engagement Scott Ferraro explained.

"Every year of delay means locking in higher emissions making it harder and more expensive to catch up with the rest of the world."