Australia’s largest motoring organisation has rejected claims by Energy Minister Angus Taylor that ute-driving tradesmen will be left stranded by Labor’s transport emissions policy, and has called for a ban on the sale of petrol vehicles as early as 2025.

The NRMA welcomed Labor’s pledge that electric vehicles will comprise 50 per cent of new car sales by 2030, and says global car manufacturers have already signalled an intention to stop building petrol and diesel cars.

The transport sector is responsible for about one-fifth of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions – a proportion projected to increase as the population and economy grows.

Along with the electric vehicle target, Labor would mandate that electric vehicles comprise half of government fleet purchases and leases by 2025. It would also phase in a reduction of new vehicle emissions to 105 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, to help propel the electric vehicle transition.Advertisement

Mr Taylor on Monday said few cars on Australian roads presently met the proposed vehicle emissions standard.

“The most popular car in Australia, the Toyota HiLux, is nowhere near that … I don’t know what tradies are going to do under Labor’s policies because there is no car that can do what they need to do that they can drive,” Mr Taylor said.

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said HiLux drivers had “at least 11 years to worry about” the transition, in which time technology would significantly evolve.

“There is already work being done on the first electric ute, there will be electric vans, there are already electric buses. This is the way the technology is heading.”

Mr Khoury said nations around the world had implemented future bans on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and Australians need to be prepared for global car manufacturers to soon stop building them.

In a Four Corners program to air on Monday night, NRMA chief executive Rohan Lund said Australia was lagging so badly in cutting vehicle emissions that its targets should be “more aggressive than what we’re seeing in other markets,” the ABC reported.

He reportedly said he expects to see a ban on new petrol-powered cars as soon as 2025.

Labor’s policy does not ban petrol-driven cars, and its proposed vehicle emissions standard is in line with that of the United States and less stringent than Europe’s.

The Australian Automobile Association, which has previously said the standard would make vehicles more expensive, said it “looks forward to understanding the detail” of Labor’s policy.

It called for both major parties to “ensure voters understand the costs and benefits associated with their respective policy positions” ahead of the election.

The Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said Labor’s policy was “a game changer” that will drive investment.

“It would finally see Australia accelerating from the back of the global pack as we should,” he said.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries – the national trade group for global automakers, including Toyota – said car manufacturers had long been seeking “realistic and achievable” emissions reduction targets to be set in Australia.

Chief executive Tony Weber said the group would “like to work with whoever is in power to achieve that”. He added Labor’s electric vehicle target may only be achievable if other low-emissions vehicles such as hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles were also included.

Extracted from Canberra Times