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Gillard commits to fuel consumption standards by 2015

Go greener: Prime Minister Julia Gillard announces her party's green car policies.

Australia to follow US and Europe with CO2 emissions standards under Gillard policy

General News logo27 Jul 2010

A GILLARD government would introduce mandatory motor vehicle fuel efficiency standards from 2015 under a newly announced policy that effectively endorses a stance taken by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).

Prime Minster Julia Gillard said that, if re-elected, her government would introduce new mandatory carbon dioxide standards for new cars, starting in 2015.

It quoted the benefits of 190g/km national average by 2015 and a further reduction to 155g/km in 2024, but was careful not to lock in these numbers.

“We would need to put this through a regulatory impact process to determine the details after discussing it with the industry,” a government source told GoAuto.

Labor said the 190g/km and 155g/km targets would form the “starting point for discussions with industry and stakeholders”, indicating it could be willing to alter these numbers should they risk job losses for locally produced models.

The new industry standards would be in the form of fleet average, meaning they would be an average of all models offered by a brand allowing for high performance models with higher consumption would be compensated by small more efficient vehicles.

The FCAI says the average emission figure of new vehicles is 222g/km, down from 226g/km in 2007 and 230g/km in 2006.

It had previously been opposed to mandatory emission standards, but now supports them after the introduction of similar legislation in the US and Europe, although it insists the standards are not too tough.

 center imageThe peak motoring body will wait until after the election to start discussing details and is unwilling to say too much given the announcement is a policy announcement made during an election campaign.

FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar issued a statement expressing the body’s support for the emission standards program, which it was involved in shaping along with public officials and suggested the industry was ready for it.

“The industry is confident we will reach agreement with any incoming government on the detailed structure of a new standard, including ways to recognise the uptake of emerging low emission technologies and alternative fuels,” he said.

Mr McKellar said the automotive industry had already shown a willingness to cut emissions.

“The industry is proud of the improvements in engine and transmission technologies in recent years that have helped reduce emissions from new vehicles,” he said.

“The intense competition between brands has led to improved fuel efficiency and a reduction in CO2 emissions of 10 per cent in the past five years.”

Local manufacturers Holden and Toyota declined to comment on the proposed emission standards, but Ford Australia spokeswoman Sinead McAlary said: “We support the idea in principal and look forward to working with the government on the details, if they are returned to government.”

According to the data supplied by the car-makers, the only Australian-made vehicle to come in under the proposed 2015 fleet-wide standard is the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which produces an official average of 142g/km.

Among the details that still need to be discussed how the fleet average would be applied, whether sub-brands such as Ford Performance Vehicles or Holden Special Vehicles would have their emissions included in the fleet averages of Ford and HSV and the penalties for non-compliance.

The Labor Party also reinforced its commitment to the existing $6 billion New Car Plan for a Greener Future which supports local production of more efficient vehicles up to 2020.

It mentioned electric vehicles in its latest release on the proposed emission standards, but is yet to develop a policy other than promising to lead a ‘work program’ to ensure “Australia’s energy markets are ready to support the potential large-scale adoption of electric vehicles and related technologies”.

It also said it would, through the Ministerial Council on Energy, ask the Australian Energy Market Commission to review Australia’s energy market frameworks to see if there are potential barriers to the uptake of electric vehicles.

The proposed emissions standards would not have any impact on the upcoming Euro 5 and Euro 6 emissions standards. In January, the Rudd government released a draft report prepared by the transport department recommending the Euro 5 emissions standard be introduced in Australia between 2012 and 2014. It went on to suggest the petrol engines would need to meet the Euro5 regulation by 2013.

A Labor party source said it would not lock in a date for the Euro 5 emissions standard now that the election had been called.

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