australia’s dirty and expensive car habit: $5.9 billion in extra fuel costs

Australia’s lack of vehicle emissions standards is costing its drivers dearly: It means more pollution, a near total dependence on imported fuels, and the latest estimate puts the cost burden on consumers since 2015 at $5.9 billion.

The savings translate – according to research commissioned by The Australia Institute – to about $1 billion a year, but in 2021, because of rising prices at the petrol bowser, the cost is estimated to have been $2.2 billion – a huge impost on Australian consumers, and one they seem completely unaware of.

You often hear talk that Australia is at risk of becoming a dumping ground for dirty and inefficient cars. But the reality is that it already is.

The country is one of the few western countries that has no fuel emissions standards – despite numerous recommendations over the last decade and a half that it should.

australia’s dirty and expensive car habit: $5.9 billion in extra fuel costs

And it’s not just higher fuel costs that are caused by the lack of a fuel emissions standards.

Australia, the TAI says, is almost entirely reliant on imports of refined fuels and crude to meet consumption, and imports 91 per cent of all fuel consumed in Australia. Three quarters (73 per cent) of Australia’s total liquid fuel demand is consumed by the transport sector and over half (54 per cent) is consumed by road transport alone.

australia’s dirty and expensive car habit: $5.9 billion in extra fuel costs

The TAI estimates that if fuel efficiency standards had been introduced in 2016, Australia could have imported 4000 million litres less oil.

Australia could have prevented 9 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions if fuel efficiency standards had been introduced in 2016 – about the same emissions from domestic aviation in a normal year.

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