One would think that proposed new rules designed to make cars go further on less fuel and to produce less toxic tailpipe emissions, at the same time reducing Australia’s high per capita greenhouse gas contribution, would be welcome. Not with everyone it seems. Articles appeared in the press in early July with motor industry bodies claiming proposed new rules were a “carbon tax on cars” and new cars would cost $5,000 more. Josh Frydenberg on radio the next day very quickly denied any changes to existing rules.
DEA responded in forum with an article in OnlineOpinion “Air pollution: a silent killer we must urgently act on”.
Change is sorely needed. As DEA submitted to the Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions and to the Environment Department’s discussion paper Better Fuel for Cleaner Air, Australia’s vehicle emissions and fuel standards are amongst the worst in the developed world.
And so an important issue was ducked by the Environment Minister. But Australia may be left standing with changes occurring around the world driven by concern over pollution and climate. Economists such as Oxford’s Dieter Helm and Stanford’s Tony Seba are predicting that electrification of cars, trucks and buses will radically change transport within a decade. China, Norway, France and the Netherlands have policies to favour or even mandate electric vehicle uptake. Volvo has stated all new models from 2019 will be electric and Elon Musk had 325,000 orders for the Tesla 3 ahead of any production. This will be a major disruption to transport, electricity generation and big oil, and it may come sooner than we think.