Plugging in right policies for cleaner cars

On the cusp of the Federal Election, the Australian Automobile Association welcomes the focus by both major parties on vehicle technology including benefits, costs, challenges and hurdles of an uptake in electric vehicles.

Ironically however, no party has yet released sufficient details and costings on how they intend to achieve their objectives. The debate should not just be focused from a standpoint of environmental, affordability and practicality issues; but must also be from the standpoint of developing parallel policies to govern fuel standards, and noxious emissions.

Along with other ultra-low-fuel consumption vehicle technologies, electric vehicles will almost certainly play a leading role in delivering cleaner transport and greater fuel security for Australia into the future.

But the transition to widespread use of electric vehicles can only be successful if a wide range of complementary transport, emissions and energy policies are put in place.

Enabling cleaner vehicles

To assist with the uptake of new technologies, at the upcoming Federal Election the AAA believes all parties should commit to:

  • support any vehicle technology that delivers ultra-low fuel consumption (below 2L/100km); and
  • stimulate market demand by reducing regulatory barriers that inhibit the uptake of such vehicles.

The AAA strongly supports policies that can support the development of a cleaner national transport fleet, including:

  • introducing a CO2 standard
  • stronger noxious emissions standards
  • improved fuel quality standards
  • support for electric vehicles and other ultra-low fuel consumption vehicles
  • transport market reform that integrates cleaner vehicles into a system that is currently based on fuel excise.

The AAA has long maintained that these issues are interrelated and must be addressed as a package.

The AAA also calls on all sides of politics to articulate what their medium to long-term plans are to reform motoring taxes. Currently the government relies on $12 billion net, each year, from fuel excise with just over half of that being used to fund land transport infrastructure. The move towards more ultra-low fuel consumption technologies will have an unavoidable impact on fuel excise revenue.

Emissions standards and election policies

The AAA supports the introduction of an emissions standard that recognises Australian motorists’ unique needs and preferences, and the fuel quality available to them.

A poorly-designed standard would drive up the cost of cars, the cost of petrol, and significantly curtail the availability of popular vehicle makes and classes.

The AAA expects both sides of politics to commit to balanced policies that curb emissions without dramatically removing vehicle choice or imposing significant cost burdens on consumers.

Political parties should clearly articulate their vehicle emissions targets and timelines ahead of the election. Voters must be able to understand the costs and benefits associated with respective policy positions ahead of the May 2019 election.

/Public Release. View in full here.