Australia is failing on three vehicle pollution controls, including fuel quality standards, vehicle (tailpipe) pollution controls, and vehicle greenhouse gas reduction targets.
On the contrary, the rest of the world has established cleaner fuel standards, lower thresholds for acceptable tailpipe pollutants, and ongoing targets to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles which will eventually help the transition to electric vehicles, according to The Driven.
In relation to fuel quality standards, Australia’s standards are the worst in the OECD for both sulphur and ‘aromatics contents. As per its policy, fuel quality must gradually be improved to the current global standard by 2027, and Australia shifts to Euro 6d vehicle emissions standards at that point. As a result, the country will lag behind the rest of the world in these areas by more than ten years.
On the other hand, Australia’s vehicle pollution standards fall far behind all the other OECD countries as the current standards are still based on European Euro 5. In fact, Euro 6b long displaced Euro 5 in 2014, and after three years, it was again replaced by Euro 6d. Currently, around 80% of the world adopted Euro 6b, which the UN has designated as the international standard.
For vehicle greenhouse gas reduction targets, many OECD countries use different mechanisms to implement greenhouse gas reductions offering credits for those who exceed the standard and enforcing fine for those doing worse.
Notably, ICE vehicles will find it more challenging to fulfill these mandated greenhouse gas limitations as they are lowered to achieve “net zero” by 2050. Thus, EVs (HEVs, PHEVs, and eventually BEVs) gain increasingly favor as the most effective means of achieving the targets. In Australia’s case, it currently has no such mandated limits.
Even worse, because of the delay in enacting fuel quality and vehicle pollution standards, many of the cleaner, more fuel-efficient car models currently available overseas would not be imported before 2027. Further quoting from that report:
“Several stakeholders advised the department that fuel saving technologies are often packaged with engines meeting Euro 6 or equivalent standards in larger markets.
“However, it still may not be commercially viable (or even possible) for manufacturers to offer these technologies on older Euro 5 engines for the Australian market. … Manufacturers have also expressed concerns that our older vehicle emissions standards are making it increasingly difficult to convince their global parent companies that next generation engine technologies should be allocated to the Australian market.”
All things considered, if Australia does not adequately address the fuel quality concerns, Euro 6 cannot be implemented in the country, and without Euro 6 acting as the default vehicle pollution standard, any efforts to enact greenhouse gas (CO2-e) emission standards will fall short of international standards.