Unlike the 14 countries who have led in the banning of fossil fuel vehicles, the Australian government slacks off in adopting stricter emission standards to help protect the planet from the dire effects of climate change. Deciding to rise to the challenge, the FCAI leads the car industry in initiating a voluntary CO2 emission standard, and about time, too.
On Friday, 24th of July 2020, the FCAI announced the industry-led adoption of new standards to reduce Australia’s CO2 emissions over the next decade (2021-2030).
While EU6 vehicle emissions standards have been enforced in major countries of the world since 2014, the Australian Federal Government maintains EU5, which goes as far back as 2009. This puts Australia's federal regulations 11 years behind most of its European and Western contemporaries.
A Closer Look at the FCAI Regulation on Australia’s CO2 Emissions
The new standard is a long-term goal which grants that different automobile brands follow different paths and methods towards attaining the target. The reduction of CO2 emissions will depend on specific model cycles.
The targets of the new Australian CO2 emission standard are the following average figures:
- 4.0% reduction per annum for MAs (Passenger Cars and light SUVs) and,
- 3.0% reduction per annum for MC+NA (Vans, Heavy SUVs and light commercial vehicles)
How Much CO2 Does a Gas-Fuelled Car Emit on the Average?
A car fuelled by fossil gas emits about 2.4kg of CO2 per litre of fuel. Depending on how extensively you drive around, your car’s carbon footprint can go over 5,000kg annually.
Per FCAI estimates, Australia’s CO2 emissions will be brought down from the current 149g/km and 239g/km to an average of 100g/km and 145g/km for MA and MC+NA vehicles, respectively, by 2030. Again, progress will be at different rates for different brands depending on vehicle type and their model cycles.
The FCAI standard supports automobile manufacturers’ established patterns of bringing the best possible products, with the latest safety and powertrain technologies to the Australian market.
FCAI chief Tony Weber said that more than 40 major automotive brands support the move, which will enable manufacturers to plan future products for the Australian market confidently. The standard ensures that the manufacturers will continue to bring the latest, safest, and most fuel-efficient autos to the market.
The industry acknowledges that the pathway towards attaining the target will not be without challenges. The FCAI added that they will not penalise auto companies who fail to meet the CO2 emission standards. Manufacturers may not always record annual improvement. In this case, the end goal of attaining the 2030 target remains the key focus.
Starting in 2021, the industry will publish an annual public scoreboard, which is one way to hold car manufacturers accountable to the agreed goal. It will also provide consumers with valuable information that will enable them to make informed decisions.
What Critics Say about Australia’s Voluntary CO2 Emission Regulations
The critics are talking already. In their view, these voluntary standards aren't strict enough to discourage consumers from buying fuel-guzzling and CO2-spewing vehicles. For instance, the Toyota Hilux emits more CO2 than smaller vehicles yet remains as one of Australia's top-selling cars, and this regulation does nothing to discontinue its use.
The FCAI does seem intent about not limiting Australian consumers but instead giving them full autonomy on their choice of cars to drive.
According to Weber, they are looking at the types of cars bought by Australians, especially those closely similar to chart-topping cars in the US. Knowing that vans and other light commercial vehicles make up a significant percentage of sales in the Australian market and are needed to meet the standard of living and working of certain people, Weber said that FCAI is not going to stop that trend.
He added that the global car industry rates countries with the most fuel-efficient engines and ranks those with sterner vehicle emission standards at the top of the list. Sadly, Australia often misses out on the latest and most efficient technologies and is outranked by other first-world countries.
This move could finally lead to a massive acceptance of the electric vehicles in the Australian car-owners community.
The chief executive of Electric Vehicle Council of Australia, Behyad Jafari, applauds the new movement but emphasises the need for the Australian federal government to set a target year for the banning of internal combustion engines (ICE). Many countries have already made a step towards banning fossil fuel vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions.
Climate Change is HAPPENING. And our efforts at managing the change and protecting our ecosystem ought to be just as drastic.
The Australian CO2 emission standard is noticeably far more relaxed than what the planet needs – but it's a start nonetheless. And while not everybody agrees that it is a laudable start, it is arguably a better-than-nothing start. Keep updated about what’s happening in the industry. Subscribe to Carpart.com.au to get the latest news and insights!
By Damilare Olasinde