Thursday, 15 June 2017 11:52

Australia's love affair with SUVs, utes and V8s has turned us into a nation of gas guzzlers — and government fleets are among the biggest polluters, despite preaching the “green car” message to private buyers.

Cars on Australian roads belched out up to 50 per cent more toxic fumes than those in Europe last year (182g/km vs. 120g/km) according to the latest emissions report by the National Transport Commission.

And the gap is widening thanks to the shift away from small cars to SUVs and utes.

V8 RUSH

Local carmakers Ford and Holden attributed their rises to a rush on V8 Commodores and Falcons ahead of local plant shutdowns.

Holden says roughly half of the Commodores it sells are V8s.

Holden spokesman Sean Poppitt said: “Increased demand for our performance V8 vehicles has contributed to the slight increase. If you take V8s out, there’s been a reduction in CO2 emissions across our range.”

Imported performance cars also pushed up the emissions count.

Ford’s V8 Mustang was the best-selling sports car in 2016 and Ford spokesman Martin Gunsberg said special edition Falcons “were overwhelmingly ordered in V8 guise”.

Mazda spokesman Tony Mee said an “extremely small” rise in its average emissions “was due to the increased interest in the BT-50 ute which enjoyed an all-time record year”.

Mercedes-Benz also saw a rise in its emissions average, due to the popularity of its high-powered AMG cars.

FUEL QUALITY AN ISSUE

Mercedes spokesman David McCarthy said its emissions would be lower “if Australia had first world fuel”.

It’s a concern echoed by industry body the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, which says Australia ranks 66th in the world for fuel quality.

“Australia has the lowest quality petrol of the 35 countries in the OECD, below Mexico, Turkey and Estonia,” said FCAI chief executive Tony Weber.

Australian unleaded petrol has up to 150 parts per million of sulphur whereas world’s best practice is less than 10 ppm.

More refined fuel allows makers to introduce more efficient engines.

The petroleum industry says it can improve the quality but bowser prices would go up.

DIFFERENT STROKES

None of the Top 10 selling cars in Australia last year was even close to the European average.

In a major embarrassment for government local, state and federal fleets still represented three of the top five worst polluters.

Government departments typically run a high percentage of work utes and most have “buy Australian” policies that have traditionally favoured the big local sedans.

“Private buyers purchased vehicles with the lowest average emissions intensity (176g/km), followed by business buyers (187g/km) and government buyers (201g/km),” the report said.

State Government fleets had the highest emissions (204g/km), ahead of the Federal Government (200g/km) and local government (195g/km).

There was also a noticeable drop in the availability of so-called “green cars” — defined as not exceeding 120g/km. In 2015, there were 72 models on the market, last year only 51.

Experts say our appetite for bigger, thirstier cars with higher emissions is largely fuelled by cheaper prices at the bowser.

Australia has the fourth cheapest petrol in the world and the sixth cheapest diesel — and among the lowest taxes — according to the latest figures reported by the Australian Institute of Petroleum (the fourth quarter of 2016).

Top 10 Vehicles sold in 2016 (and their emissions)

  1. Toyota HiLux (216g/km)
  2. Toyota Corolla (151g/km)
  3. Hyundai i30 (165g/km)
  4. Ford Ranger (230g/km)
  5. Mazda 3 (138g/km)
  6. Toyota Camry (183g/km)
  7. Holden Commodore (252g/km)
  8. Mazda Cx-5 (159g/km)
  9. Hyundai Tucson (182g/km)

Australian Average - 182g/km

European Average - 120g/km

Source: www.news.com.au, Natonal Transport Commission Report

 

MTAWA is proudly supported by

Search

Navigation