Cities Power Partnership launch

120 Mayors and Councillors across Australia have signed a joint statement calling on the Federal Government to codify laws to further support the country’s supply of affordable electric vehicles (EV).

The statement urges the Federal Government to legislate fuel efficiency standards which:

  • Are mandatory and deliver at least equivalent settings to those in other major markets
  • Give Australian drivers more choice and affordability than they have today
  • Support 100 per cent of new vehicles sold in Australia to become zero emissions as soon as possible
  • Are reviewed and updated approximately every five years

Australian Capital Territory Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury, said, “Vehicle manufacturers send their cleanest vehicles to countries that demand low and zero emissions vehicles through effective fuel efficiency standards. 

“For too long Australia has been left with less efficient and more polluting vehicles, which limits the choices Australians have when purchasing a new car.

“We need to set national fuel efficiency standards for vehicles to make sure we get the cleanest cars on our roads. Setting strong fuel efficiency standards is vital for meeting our emissions reduction targets and for making more affordable electric vehicles available to Australians.”

Australia is one of the only wealthy countries without fuel efficiency standards, which cover 80 per cent of the global car market. Other countries without fuel efficiency standards include Russia, Indonesia and Türkiye. 

Fuel efficiency standards open the door for affordable low and zero emissions vehicles. Without them, Australia has become a ‘dumping ground’ for polluting vehicles with few affordable and available EV options currently on the market.

City of Greater Bendigo Mayor, Andrea Metcalf, said, “The City of Greater Bendigo has a goal to transition more than 100 light fleets to electric vehicles by 2030, however we are held back by the limited options available in Australia at the right price point.

“We also know that some people in our community are in a similar position. They also want to be driving electric vehicles that are good for the environment, have lower running costs and are affordable.

“Fuel efficiency standards are critical to unlocking this supply in Australia and would be a game changer for the transition of our transport sector to clean fuels.”

The Cities Power Partnership, a program offered by the Climate Council to support local governments on their journey to net-zero emissions, convened the statement.

Head of Advocacy at the Climate Council, Dr Jennifer Rayner, said, “World-class fuel efficiency standards would bring more low and zero emissions vehicles to Australian shores.

“Local government officials are doing what they can to accelerate the shift to EVs, but their hands are tied by prohibitive costs, which is why we’re taking their calls for more affordable options to the federal level.

“Fleets make up 41 per cent of new car sales each year. With the average government fleet vehicle entering the secondhand market after three to five years, councils can play a critical role in supplying affordable EVs to their communities.

“Among the Cities Power Partnership’s 180 members, three-quarters have at least one EV in their fleets, but many are keen to go entirely electric. Cheaper EVs will be the key to this.

“For communities to reap the benefits of cleaner, cheaper-to-run vehicles, it is essential the Federal Government implements fuel efficiency standards to supercharge our EV supply.”

Transport is a significant source of emissions at all levels of government and is the third-highest source of emissions nationally – behind only electricity and stationary energy.

If fuel efficiency standards had been introduced in 2016, Australia could have saved $5.9 billion in fuel costs and avoided 4,000ML of imported fuel. 

This would also have avoided nine million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – similar to the emissions from domestic aviation in a normal year.

Feature image: Cities Power Partnership media launch. Courtesy of Cities Power Partnership. 

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