Australia’s status as the world’s dumping ground for dated, high-emission vehicles will be cemented if the Albanese Government does not move swiftly to catch up with new fuel efficiency standards announced by the Biden Administration today, according to the Electric Vehicle Council.
The new US policy is to strengthen existing fuel efficiency standards to the point where 67% of vehicles sold in America will be electric by 2032. Australia, by contrast, is one of the only developed nations on earth without any fuel efficiency standards whatsoever.
Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari warned that the US announcement put huge pressure on Australia to act fast.
“This shift in position from the US is of monumental consequence to Australia,” Mr Jafari said.
“Car companies will now be racing to meet the more stringent standards set in the US, Europe, China, and even New Zealand. If they continue to see Australia as the odd nation out, they will prioritise all other markets for their latest and best EVs. Australia will be dumped with their outdated gas guzzlers because it will be one of the only markets where there will be no consequences for doing so.
“We know the federal government has been slowly working on a new EV policy. This move in the US means the buzzer has sounded. The time for talk is done, we know the action we need to take, so let’s introduce strong new fuel efficiency standards now.
“The US decision is particularly relevant for Australia because the US is so similar to Australia in terms of driving culture. Its geography is broad and its culture of car ownership, especially larger vehicles, is strong. So if the US is able to move this decisively there is zero excuse for Australia not to follow suit.
“If any lobby group wants to argue Australians can’t keep pace with Americans on the transition to EVs they should be laughed out of the room.
“If the US hits its targets it means the majority of American drivers will be saving some $1,300 a year in fuel costs. Right now, during a cost of living criss, Australians are being required to push thousands of dollars through the petrol pump.
“The US first introduced fuel efficiency standards into law in the 1970s and has been strengthening them since then. In 2023, Australia has a discussion paper about them. It’s ridiculous.
“Australian drivers deserve the same range of EV choice, the same speed of EV delivery, and the same second-hand EV market as Americans and Europeans. We can have that but only if the federal government acts now.”