Emissions focus turns to vehicle pollution

Focus on emissions from vehicles is increasing, with the results of a two-year consultation process by the Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions coming to an end, and environment and automotive groups calling for stronger emission standards for cars.

The Australian Automobile Association has launched a campaign to urge the Federal Government to introduce real-world emissions testing for new cars, and to make that information available to consumers.

AAA Chief Executive Michael Bradley said that popular cars on the Australian market are using up to 59 per cent more fuel than advertised and emitting more than seven times the legal limit of some noxious emissions.

“It’s becoming clear that as emissions standards tighten, the gap between laboratory results and real-world results is widening, meaning consumers and the environment are increasingly being ripped off,” he said.

In the wake of the Volkswagen scandal, the AAA tested 30 vehicles to quantify the difference between their results in standard laboratory testing, and the actual emissions they produce in the real world, with a range of large, small, hybrid, petrol, LPG and diesel vehicles selected to reflect Australia’s diverse car fleet.

Full test results and more information on real world emissions testing is at www.realworld.org.au

The Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions will soon provide a draft implementation plan on potential measures to reduce vehicle emissions in Australia.

The Ministerial Forum was set up in October 2015, chaired by the Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher and including the Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, and supported by an interdepartmental working group led by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

Under its terms of reference it is required to “to coordinate a whole-of-Australian-government approach to addressing vehicle emissions, including testing and reporting arrangements.”

Issues to be considered include:

  • implementation of Euro 6 or equivalent standards for new vehicles;

  • fuel efficiency (CO2) measures for new light vehicles;

  • fuel quality standards;

  • emissions testing arrangements for vehicles in conjunction with international regulatory agencies to ensure robust testing;

  • Australian Government measures under the National Clean Air Agreement;

  • Emissions Reduction Fund and Safeguard Mechanism—transport measures;

  • future infrastructure to support new vehicles, including funding available through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Australian Renewable Energy Agency; and

  • National Energy Productivity Plan.

A discussion paper and then three further consultation papers were released, attracting responses from from vehicle manufacturers, fuel suppliers, transport operators, consumer, health and environment groups, and individuals. They are available here.

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