Australia’s peak car industry body is calling on all levels of government to step up their efforts to tackle vehicle emissions.
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber says new passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles contribute less than one per cent of Australia’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions.
“There’s been quite a remarkable reduction in CO2 emissions from the Australian fleet over the last decade – 2.4 per cent per annum,” he said.
“I doubt that there’s any other sector that’s contributed more in the last decade than what new cars have done in terms of CO2 reduction.”
In order to escalate the process, Mr Weber called on federal, state and local governments to implement a more holistic approach to the issue rather than just focusing on making vehicles more fuel efficient.
He wants to see a debate about the use of alternative fuels and energy platforms.
Instructing driver behaviour, infrastructure improvements to reduce congestion and price signals are also critical, he said.
“We need to actually educate people about what they can do to change the way they drive to improve their own (fuel) efficiency,” he said.
“Other countries give advantages to people who purchase more environmentally friendly vehicles – we don’t have those kind of initiatives here.”
Toyota’s executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the issue was more complex than simply supporting a financial leg up from government for electric cars.
“It’s a lot broader than that, it’s not just electric vehicles, it’s hydrogen vehicles, it’s hybrid vehicles,” he said.
“But Toyota does support some government systems to encourage the general population to move towards these more environmentally friendly options.”
The comments follow the US Justice Department’s decision to sue Volkswagen over last September’s emissions-cheating scandal which wiped billions of euros off the German carmaker’s market value and forced out its long-standing chief executive.