Australia has long been a laggard on vehicle emissions standards. While most advanced economies require car makers to deliver vehicles that comply with emissions and/or fuel consumption standards, and have done so for many years, Australia has avoided doing so.
With the federal government now taking action, in the form of a proposed New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES), the Smart Energy Council is urging its supporters to push for ambitious new standards during the one-month consultation period being provided.
The Smart Energy Council was ebullient in a mail sent to the solar community today: “This could be the most significant policy to reduce Australia’s soaring transport emissions in history! The Albanese Government is seeking your input on the preferred model over the next month. Your opinion is crucial. Access the Impact Analysis and share your thoughts on Cleaner Cars.”
The politics around vehicle emissions standards have been difficult in the past. In 2019, then Prime Minister Scott Morrison attacked Labor’s EV policy by saying that the then opposition wanted to “end the weekend”.
“He wants to say see you later to the SUV when it comes to the choices of Australians,” said Morrison at the time, who announced his retirement from politics this January.
In an apparent attempt to thwart such attacks, the current federal government is pitching its new policy as saving households money on petrol, increasing their choice of vehicles, and reducing emissions in the community.
“Most advanced economies around the world have introduced vehicle efficiency standards. Because Australia has not introduced a vehicle efficiency standard, the nation is being left behind.”
The government has published a consultation paper for its New Vehicle Efficiency Standard online.
The Smart Energy Council is “strongly supporting” the new standard and calling for people to support the “Option C” proposed by the government: “a much more ambitious approach – the Smart Energy Council’s preferred position.”
Smart Energy Council CEO John Grimes personally addressed the community in the email calling for action. “Congratulations again to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Ministers Chris Bowen and Catherine King for this major step forward,” wrote Grimes.
Even without emissions standards in place, hybrid and EV sales are surging in Australia, according to recent figures.
The public consultation period for the NVES closes on March 4.
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