Major concerns have been raised the Albanese government’s new vehicle efficiency standard could leave Australians worse off.

The federal government will introduce laws next year setting new vehicle efficiency standards that will require car companies to supply fuel efficient cars to buyers.

Energy minister Chris Bowen and transport minister Catherine King announced the news on Sunday claiming Aussies could save as much as $1,000 on fuel.

Concerns have been raised over whether the total cost of car ownership could outweigh the savings in fuel and actually leave Aussies worse off.

A national motoring group feared the change could force half of all car sales to be electric by 2030 – with the vehicles considerably more expensive than petrol cars.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber said the government hadn’t provided a breakdown of total costs in making its savings claims.

‘That (total cost) includes maintenance, insurance, obviously the fuel price but really importantly the purchase price and level of depreciation,’ Mr Weber told The Australian.

Motor Trades Association of Australia Chief Executive Matt Hobbs said if 4WD sales are crippled many automobile sellers would go out of business.

‘That’s the lifeblood of dealers. If that dries up, you’re going to have a whole lot of dealers go broke,’ he told said.

He said as the standards tighten to reduce carbon emissions by 60 per cent to the end of the next decade it will mean the sale of petrol-driven cars will have to drastically reduce.

‘At least 50 per cent of all new cars by 2029 will have to be EVs to hit that target and not pay a price.

‘There are no internal combustion engines that can hit that number, even really small cars, so basically you can’t sell them. Hybrids, if it’s a really small car, maybe (could reach the standard).

‘This isn’t a ban, but as the targets gets tougher car companies have to work out how to offset it or otherwise look at which vehicles don’t make the standard.’

Opposition transport spokeswoman Bridget McKenzie pointed out that the only EV ute available in Australia, the LDV eT60, costs $93,000 compared to only $52,000 for the long-time best-selling Toyota HiLux.

Mr Bowen said under the scheme no one will have to pay extra for a vehicle because manufacturers would be forced to bring more efficient models to Australia that currently were only sold overseas.

He also argued that because the standard applies across a total fleet it simply meant dealers would have to increase their EV sales.

Drastically increasing the number of EVs being sold is crucial to the Albanese government’s ambitious goal to cut emissions 43 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.

EVs only amounted to eight per cent of new cars sold in 2023 and this will have to climb to nearly 100 per cent of sales by 2035 to achieve the government’s goal of eliminated transport greenhouse gas emissions completely by 2050.

While recharging an EV at home is a relatively cheap option, doing so publicly became more expensive last month with  Australia’s second largest EV charger provider hiking prices at its stations last month by up to 43 percent.

Even before this auto website CarExpert revealed it was cheaper to run a car with a combustion engine than an electric car on long road trips.

Over a 900km drive from Sydney to Melbourne conducted by CarExpert the EV cost around $13 more to power than its petrol counterpart – as well as needing two hours extra stopping time to replenish.

CarExpert founder Paul Maric told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday he feared the gap would widen.

‘Electricity prices have never come down so it is only going to become more and more expensive,’ Mr Maric said.

‘They (governments) want everyone to be driving these things but ultimately they just aren’t affordable.’

He said so far electric vehicles were largely the preserve of the higher-earners, especially as buying one could be used as a tax offset against other income.

‘If you just think of the average Australian at the moment who is just struggling to put food on the table and you are talking about a vehicle like the Tesla model Y that starts at $70,000, regardless of what the tax incentives are that’s still a big chunk of money,’ he said

‘A lot of this stuff is pie in the sky that is really only benefiting people who are already wealthy.’

He also said because the federal government gave private companies money to install chargers but not for maintenance many were broken.

‘The public charging infrastructure is rolling out at such a slow pace that unless you have charging at home you would have nowhere to charge electric vehicles because chargers are either faulty or there is not enough of them,’ he said.

Mr Bowen said the new emissions standards will be legislated as ‘soon as possible’ to come into effect from January 1 next year.

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