The FCAI has welcomed the release of discussion papers seeking to improve the efficiency of light vehicles and vehicle emissions through better fuel standards.
FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said the industry had always firmly supported a mandated target for new cars that was tailored to the Australian market, taking into consideration consumer choice, consumer driving conditions, market fuel and infrastructure.
The CO2 contribution made by Australia’s annual sales of new passenger cars, SUVs and light commercial vehicles is very low (less than one per cent of Australia’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions). Nonetheless, Mr Weber said, Australia’s vehicle industry recognised it had a role to play in emissions reductions and was committed to developing and delivering new technologies to reduce CO2 emissions.
In welcoming the Government’s two new Draft Regulation Impact Statements (RIS) on improving the efficiency of new light vehicles and vehicle emission standards for cleaner air, as well as a discussion paper on better fuel for cleaner air, Mr Weber said the FCAI would continue to work closely with the Government on pursuing the best outcomes for Australian consumers.
He said he was pleased the Government recognised in its discussion papers the interrelationship of fuels, pollutant emissions and CO2 emissions.
“It’s noteworthy that these important policy-framing Government documents have all been released at the same time, because all of these elements will be hugely influential in the composition of our vehicle fleet and the type of cars consumers can buy in 10 or 20 years’ time,” Mr Weber said.
“Our automotive industry is committed to introducing new technology for new motor vehicles which achieves continued emissions reductions in Australia. The key to achieving the best possible outcome is an integrated approach, and a key plank of this approach is giving consumers genuine, hip-pocket incentives to change their car-buying preferences.”
Mr Weber noted that emerging technologies such as automated and connected vehicles, including hydrogen and electric variants, present another opportunity to achieve further emission reductions in the longer term.
“To effectively introduce a range of low-emissions vehicles it is important the industry and Government work together to provide the appropriate infrastructure. In countries such as Japan, government-led consumer incentives and infrastructure investment played significant roles in the uptake of vehicles with these technologies,” he said.
“CO2 emissions from light vehicles can also be reduced through improved driving habits. Public education and awareness-raising may provide drivers with techniques to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Such education may also improve road safety.”
Mr Weber said all the most informed research by global automotive industry research experts showed that Australia needed its own solution for emissions reductions.
“Australia is not the same driving or market environment as Europe or the United States. We have our own driving needs and our particular consumer requirements,” he said.
“Australian consumers want choice, and they also want access to affordable, low emission, new technology vehicles. The challenge ahead for government and industry is to find a solution that works for our specific market.”