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$5.9 billion: Weak fuel-efficiency standards hurting Aussie motorists

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Aussie motorists could save a lot of money if fuel efficiency standards were tightened up, the report says. (Source: Getty)

The failure to implement robust fuel-efficiency standards in Australia has cost motorists billions since 2015, a new report has found.

Australia currently has voluntary standards but The Australia Institute research labelled these standards “weak and opaque” compared to best-practise standards in Europe.

The report found mandatory fuel-efficiency standards would save motorists in petrol costs, cut emissions, reduce our reliance on imported oil and encourage manufacturers to supply electric vehicles (EVs) and efficient models to the Australian market.

“Australians are being left behind simply because, as a nation, we are still accepting gas-guzzling cars with no emissions standards,” Richie Merzian, climate and energy program director at The Australia Institute.

“This is costing commuters money at the petrol pump and holding Australia back from reducing our emissions.”

The report estimated $5.9 billion in fuel costs would have been saved if robust fuel-efficiency standards were adopted in 2015.

The report found mandatory fuel-efficiency standards - in line with international best practise - would increase the supply of electric vehicles in the country, with demand currently outstripping supply.

That’s because EV and efficient vehicle manufacturers are more likely to prioritise countries with mandatory efficiency standards to avoid severe penalties.

“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,” Merzian said.

Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said tougher standards would attract more EVs into the market.

"If we want to see larger and more frequent shipments of EVs to Australia, [the] Government should ignore the weak standards some in the industry are lobbying for," Jafari said.

The industry's influential peak body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, wants the current voluntary standards to remain in place.

Voluntary rules have been in place since the 1970s and a new industry-led emissions standard was introduced in 2020 for passenger cars and SUVs.

  • With AAP

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