Drivers could save $11.2 billion with EU efficiency standards

Drivers could save a combined $11.2 billion on fuel over five years if Australia adopted a fuel efficiency standard similar to the European Union, according to analysis done by a renewable energy advocacy group.

The report, by Solar Citizens and based on ABS data, also found that regional Australians would save a combined $4 billion over the same timeframe.

Australia and Russia are the only two OECD countries without a fuel efficiency standard.

Such savings would be a windfall for Australians struggling with financial pressures.

“With Australians facing high interest rates, high fuel prices and energy bills, saving at least $11.2 billion over five years and $52 billion over 10 years would be welcome news for Australian families,” Solar Citizens clean transport campaigner Ajaya Haikerwal said.

A fuel efficiency standard would accelerate EV adoption and allow consumers to reap numerous benefits, said Jake Whitehead, head of policy at the Electric Vehicle Council.

“The demand is there, really the challenge we’re facing is a lack of supply. And that’s where a fuel efficiency standard is critical for getting more electric vehicles into the country for Australians to buy.”

What is a fuel efficiency standard?

A fuel efficiency standard is a rule that helps make cars use less fuel and create less pollution.

It sets a limit on emissions and imposes penalties on manufacturers for not meeting it.

Experts say implementing one would encourage the introduction of more affordable and cleaner EVs into the country.

At the launch of the report, Senator David Pocock said the analysis underlined the opportunity offered by adopting fuel efficiency standards that “are strong and have integrity”.

“Australians want electric cars and electric utes in cities, in regional areas, and in rural and remote parts of the country. It’s on us as politicians to make sure that Australians have access to affordable vehicles that will save them money and help our climate.”

EV uptake

According to Dr Whitehead, Australia is seeing a promising increase in EV adoption, with nearly 4 per cent of all new vehicles sold in 2022 being electric. But the country lags behind the global average of 14 per cent.

Upfront costs is a barrier to uptake with the average Australian spending $22,000 on a new car and the cheapest EV priced between $45,000 and $50,000.

Although electric vehicles have lower operating costs and require less servicing, the initial investment can price some people out of the market.

Charging stations are also an issue.

They’re in high demand to accommodate the growing number of EVs on Australian roads.

There are about 3600 electric-car chargers available to the public in 2100 locations nationally, according to the State of Electric Vehicles report, published in October 2022.

Dr Whitehead acknowledged that a national network was still being built.

He said sustained investment from federal and state governments and private industry was needed to install charging stations at roughly 70km intervals on major roads.

In addition to the savings, the analysis revealed that the number of electric vehicles in Australia would experience a significant increase, jumping from nearly 40,000 in 2022 to over 900,000 in the first five years of the fuel efficiency standard’s implementation.

This surge in electric vehicle adoption could play a crucial role in reducing the nation’s carbon footprint and helping to address climate change.

Topics: EVs
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