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Australia could help drivers save billions of dollars by complying with fuel efficiency rules imposed by other major economies, according to a new report.

Stricter standards for new vehicles will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower the cost per tank, according to the Australian Institute.

The federal government is being asked to introduce energy efficiency standards. Credit:Peter Rae

The think tank found that $5.9 billion in fuel costs would have been saved and emissions equivalent to a year of domestic flying avoided, if strong fuel efficiency standards had been adopted in 2015.

Much of Europe – and Australia’s ACT – will ban petrol and diesel cars by the 2030s.

“If we want to see larger and more frequent shipments of electric vehicles to Australia, the government should ignore the low standards that some industry players are pushing for,” said the chief executive of the Electric Vehicles Council, Behyad Jafari.

Emissions from transport make up a fifth of Australia’s total and are among the fastest growing sources nationally, making the sector key to meeting the national target of a 43% reduction emissions by 2030.


Energy efficiency targets require manufacturers to pay a penalty if they exceed carbon emissions targets set for the average of the new vehicles they sell.

The industry’s top influential body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, wants the current voluntary standards to continue.

Voluntary rules have been in place since the 1970s, and a new industry-led emissions standard was introduced in 2020 for passenger cars and SUVs, which the federal government may choose to carry forward into a new regime.

According to the Australia Institute, almost two in three Australians (65%) support the introduction of national energy efficiency standards in line with those in force in Europe.



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