Delays are no longer acceptable
“Car companies will now be racing to meet the more stringent standards set in the US, Europe, China, and even New Zealand.
“If they continue to see Australia as the odd nation out, they will prioritise all other markets for their latest and best EVs. Australia will be dumped with their outdated gas guzzlers because it will be one of the only markets where there will be no consequences for doing so.”
Delays worsen the climate crises and will have devastating health impacts
Every day that vehicle emissions standards are delayed results in more greenhouse gas emissions, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels which is accelerating the world towards climate catastrophe.
Delays also results in higher rates of petrol and diesel exhaust pollution in Australian cities which recent studies have proven have devastating health impacts on Australian families.
A world-first study published in February showed that exposure to diesel exhaust pollution can dull human brains within hours.
Another study published last month showed that in addition to 12,000 cardiovascular hospitalisations, 66,000 active asthma cases, and almost 7,000 respiratory hospitalisations, petrol and diesel exhaust pollution could cause more than 11,000 premature deaths per year in Australia.
That’s about ten times more deaths than road accidents cause in Australia each year.
And it’s not just air pollution, another study of 240,000 people recently linked the noise from petrol and diesel vehicle traffic to elevated hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
A chorus of groups now calling for strong standards
The US government’s announcement comes as a growing number of groups call for the Australian government to act immediately.
This week 121 Australian Mayors and Councillors signed a joint statement calling on the federal government to legislate vehicle emission standards as a matter of urgency.
“We urge the Federal Government to support our access to electric vehicles by legislating strong fuel efficiency standards.” said local government officials in the joint statement.
The seismic shift in US policy also comes as The Australia Institute released a report showing that despite commitments from Australian state governments, electric buses make up just 0.2% of Australia’s bus fleet.
Vehicle emission standards will save Australians thousands of dollars
The US government’s new vehicle emission standards will save Americans trillions of dollars in health and fuel costs and avoid nearly 10 billion tons of emissions.
“While Australia sits on the starter’s grid in the conversation about fuel efficiency standards, the USA is further tightening their standards to help save drivers more than a trillion US dollars in fuel costs, drive down emissions, and increase the availability of affordable electric vehicles,” said Climate Council Head of Advocacy, Dr Jennifer Rayner.
Senator David Pocock also recently added his voice to the growing calls for action.
“Australians are currently getting dudded when it comes to the range and price of electric vehicles that are available to us,” said Senator Pocock
“And in large part that is because we don’t have fuel efficiency standards. We’re getting sent the world’s clunkers to Australia and we’re paying the price,”
“$11 billion dollars of savings for Australians over five years if we can get the right fuel efficiency standards in place.” said Pocock.
Decision makers must stand up to the polluting vehicle manufacturers and the fossil fuel industry’s relentless attempts to slow the world’s transition to electric vehicles.
Strong vehicle emissions standards will help limit the impacts of dangerous climate change, provide desperately needed relief to cost of living pressures and improve the health of all Australians.
It’s time for the Australian government to get on with it.
Daniel Bleakley is a clean technology researcher and advocate with a background in engineering and business. He has a strong interest in electric vehicles, renewable energy, manufacturing and public policy.