Drivers could save under new car rules

February 8, 2024 BY

High road: A new vehicle emissions standard is expected to deliver more choice for new car buyers. Photo: DAN HIMBRECHTS/ AAP IMAGE

DRIVERS stand to save up to one-thousand dollars a year in fuel as Australia “finally joins the rest of the world” by introducing emissions standards.

The Federal Government’s preferred model for a new vehicle emissions standard, unveiled last Sunday, is also expected to provide more choice to new car buyers by encouraging car companies to bring more affordable low-emission options to market.

Resembling the United States’ emissions standard, the Australian rules would force manufacturers to obey a fuel efficiency budget and balance sales of dirtier, fuel-hungry cars against low or zero-emission vehicles.

“The standard increases choice,” said Member for Ballarat and transport minister Catherine King.

“It doesn’t dictate what sort of car or ute people can buy but will mean you have a wider range of modern and cheaper-to-run vehicles.”

Currently, new cars in the US on average use 20 per cent less fuel than Australia.

The Government’s preferred model would save drivers about $1000 per vehicle annually and $17,000 over the life of the vehicle by bringing Australia up to the US standard by 2028.

It could also reduce carbon emissions by 369 million tonnes and provide $5 billion in health benefits from air quality improvements by 2050.

The transport sector makes up 21 per cent of Australia’s emissions and continues to rise, as the electricity sector decarbonises.

The changes will require legislation and likely to take effect from January 2025.

Motoring groups broadly welcomed Sunday’s announcement.

A spokesperson for the Electric Vehicle Council said the plan meant Australia “finally joins the rest of the developed world on new vehicle efficiency standards”.

“Australia has always been at the back of the queue when it comes to the best and cheapest electric vehicles because car makers have been incentivised to offer them elsewhere first,” said chief executive Behyad Jafari.

“That should end now with this policy and Australian car buyers should notice the change very quickly.”

The emissions standards come after the banning of high-polluting vehicles from December 2025.

Automakers will have to meet pollution-cutting Euro 6d noxious emissions standards, which have been adopted by most major car markets including Europe, the US, China and India.