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Targets shift

Exhausting: Industry focus has shifted from economy to emissions.

FCAI refuses to commit to tougher fuel laws

General News logo25 May 2007

INCOMING Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Andrew McKellar is confident that the Australian car industry is on track to meet a voluntary emissions code – but will not be drawn into outlining a timetable for cleaner fuel standards or lower fuel consumption.

In 2003, local manufacturers entered into a voluntary agreement to achieve an average fuel economy figure of 6.8L/100km for all passenger cars by 2010.

However, Mr McKellar explained last week that the code – which now seems an impossible target, based on the current crop of engines powering Australian-built cars – was changed in 2005, when the FCAI adopted a new CO2 emissions target of 222 grams per kilometre travelled.

This coincided with the adoption in Australia of the Euro III emissions standard, which took a greater account of emissions levels than fuel economy.

“The new voluntary code is not just for passenger vehicles, it includes all SUV and light commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes,” said Mr McKellar, adding that the industry was ahead of schedule to meet the 2010 emissions target.

In 2002 the industry average was 252g/km. At the end of 2006, after the first full year under Euro III, that figure had dropped to 230g/km.

Mr McKellar would not outline a timetable for the introduction of tougher fuel standards, despite the fact this would allow the introduction of new technology engines promising even lower emission levels.

“Obviously we want to have the best possible technologies available in Australia, but at the moment there is no timeframe for the introduction of cleaner fuel,” he said.

“However, we are part of the Fuel Standards Consultative Committee and we will be pushing strongly that we should have the best available technology here.”

Mr McKellar also hinted at a possible intervention by the Federal Government.

“There is a political view on greenhouse gas emissions which could ultima tely lead to new government policy. Our role is to help shape that policy.”

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