Ban on petrol and diesel vehicles not viable

The RACQ has said calls for a ban on fuel-powered car engines as early as 2025 in Australia was premature.

ABC reported Australia lagged behind the rest of the world in its adoption of low-emissions vehicles which prompted calls for a ban on the sale of new internal combustion engines within the next decade.

RACQ Head of Public Policy Rebecca Michael said the transport sector needed to play a role in meeting the Paris Agreement goals but clear policy had to drive that effort.

“RACQ believes electric and hydrogen vehicles will play a very important part in the future but we don’t want current drivers punished financially before those options are on the table.

“Currently EVs don’t meet all our transport needs and are too expensive. A ban is not viable or achievable by 2025.”

“When we look at Paris, the Government hasn’t set what emissions reductions should apply to transport,” Dr Michael said.

“The Government needs to put certainty on those Paris targets — we’ve signed up to an agreement and then gone silent. Doing nothing isn’t an option, we aren’t going to get there by accident.”

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Dr Michael said the Federal Government should also tackle measures like a fuel efficiency standard to get more lower-emissions cars onto Australian roads.

“A fuel efficiency standard essentially forces manufacturers to sell a larger number of fuel-efficient vehicles,” she said.

“These standards are in place in parts of Europe, the US and a number of Asian countries.

Dr Michael noted whilst it wasn’t an immediate issue, eventually Australia wouldn’t have much choice on the type of fleet available as it was a vehicle importer.

“Most world markets, however, are still heavily dominated by petrol and diesel vehicles and we see no end to their manufacture and import to Australia at least over the next decade,” she said.

Dr Michael also urged the Federal Government to work out how road user charging — the various taxes motorists currently paid — would apply to zero-emissions cars.

“These taxes currently raise billions of dollars in revenue and we need leadership on how low-emission cars are integrated into road-user charging but there’s so far been an abject lack of that.”