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Aussie Climate Council Demands Automobile Companies boost Fuel Efficiency – Watts Up With That?

Essay by Eric Worrall

“FCAI’s members selling dirty, inefficient cars into Australia well into the 2040s is not an option”. But there is a legitimate reason Aussies tend to drive heavy duty vehicles.



AHEAD OF TOMORROW’S Electric Vehicle Summit in Canberra, the Climate Council is asking the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) to clear a path for fuel efficiency standards that will save Australians money and lower emissions.

Dr Jennifer Rayner, Climate Council Head of Advocacy, said: “Last year, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) member firms Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Volvo sold over half a million new cars into the Australian market. Most of those were dirtier and less efficient than the cars they sell overseas. 

“Australians are left paying the price for that dirty transport fleet many times over. We pay at the petrol pump because less efficient cars guzzle more fuel and we pay in rising transport pollution, which is fueling climate change and harming our health.” 

“The FCAI must arrive at the Electric Vehicle Summit with a stronger plan for fuel efficiency standards that prioritise and protect Australians over their own profits.” 

“FCAI’s members selling dirty, inefficient cars into Australia well into the 2040s is not an option if we want to achieve the deep emissions cuts needed this decade to avoid the worst effects of climate change. 

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Vehicles are already pretty close to maximum theoretical efficiency, so the only way automobile manufacturers can significantly increase fleet efficiency is to remove consumer choice, to remove the choice of buying heavy vehicles with larger engines, either by simply discontinuing those models, or pricing them out of the market.

But there are good reasons why Australians choose to drive heavy duty vehicles. Aside from the need to tow heavy loads, outside big cities and a handful of major motorways, most of Australia’s roads are little better than dirt tracks.

Add to this the deadly risk of hitting kangaroos, especially around dawn and dusk, and you can see why Australians tend to choose large, heavy vehicles which can handle the roads and keep drivers and passengers safe from collisions with wild animals.

For some reason some people in the USA have the idea that Kangaroos are an endangered species, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Kangaroos are everywhere, they are a significant agricultural pest and a road hazard.

I currently drive a light SUV, but my next vehicle will be a four wheel drive light truck with a big bull bar. Two years ago I was almost one of those kangaroo statistics, thankfully I swerved at the last moment, and the kangaroo jumped the opposite direction, so I got away with a few thousand dollars worth of panel repair, rather than a head on collision with a hundred pound animal. Kangaroo fur is almost perfect camouflage, especially around dawn or dusk when they are most active, and Kangaroos have absolutely no road sense, so they are almost impossible to see until it is too late. Even city dwellers are at risk from collision, Kangaroos frequently sneak into towns and cities searching for food.

The poor roads and risk of death by Kangaroo just aren’t worth saving a few bucks on gasoline, nor is it worth acquiescing to the Climate Council’s insensitive low carbon demands.

Trained kangaroo infiltrator attempting to penetrate Russia’s Australian embassy? Or just a hungry juvenile kangaroo sneaking into town looking for a quick snack?

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