More warnings over Labor’s fuel emission targets
CAR manufacturers could be forced to pay a billion-dollar bill for cars that do not meet Bill Shorten's aggressive target to slash fuel emissions, independent analysis reveals.
The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has warned Labor about the "significant" cost impact on new cars through fines of up to $4000 handed to manufacturers for each vehicle that does not meet the tough 105g CO2/km emissions standard.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal this cost is expected to be passed on to consumers on top of the up to $5000 forecast cost to fit new cars with lower emissions technology.
Modelling commissioned by the AAA found each of Australia's top-10 car manufacturers would have no choice but to incur fines for selling vehicles that have higher fuel emissions, ranging from $134 million a year for VW to $473 million for Holden if financial penalties were set at $100 per gram of excess emissions.
Mr Shorten is proposing a 105g CO2/km emissions standard but has not detailed how Labor would apply financial penalties to enforce it.
The AAA and Climate Change Authority reported that in Europe the penalty was €95 (about $150) while the US was about $US30 ($42).
Mr Shorten's policy document states that if elected Labor would "aim to deliver standards in line with 105g CO2/km for light vehicles, consistent with the US standards and Climate Change Authority advice".
At the 2016 election Labor pledged to implement the standard by 2025 but now promises to "consult on the phase-in timeline … to maximise savings for motorists".
The modelling shows that a $100 penalty per gram amounts to a $3 billion tax on Australia's top 10-car retailers in 2025. If the fines were aligned with the US that bill would be reduced to $1.2 billion.
A Labor spokesman yesterday said the compliance mechanisms and emissions reduction trajectories would be worked out in consultation with industry.
"The Liberals want consumers to keep paying more in fuel costs. Labor's reforms are in line with standards in the US and will make cars cheaper to run," the spokesman said.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor said more questions were emerging on a daily basis. "The more revealed about Bill Shorten's car tax, the worse it gets. We know every Australian will pay more for a new car under Bill Shorten," he said.
AAA chief Michael Bradley urged both major parties to make the "full details" of their plans to curb fuel emissions public ahead of the election.
ROAD TRIPS WILL BECOME DETOUR DE FORCE
Families pressured to buy an electric vehicle under Bill Shorten's bold emissions target have been warned by the government they could have to factor in an additional day of travel on popular holiday road trips.
Coalition analysis shows the limited range of entry-level electric cars combined with the detours necessary to reach charging stations and the wait to recharge them would blow out travel times compared with trips in ordinary cars.
For example, the drive from Sydney to Surfers Paradise would take an extra 14.5 hours in a $55,000 Nissan Leaf, according to the research, while the extra travel time for a trip from Sydney to Jindabyne at the foot of the ski resorts is almost five hours.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor accused Mr Shorten of having a "plan that will have you stuck by the roadside".
Labor has pledged to introduce a national electric vehicle target of 50 per cent of new car sales in the next decade.
While Mr Shorten has not revealed how this target would be enforced, Labor's policy document states that "setting a national target will deliver more affordable electric vehicles into the Australian market and drive the switch to electric vehicles".
But Mr Taylor said Labor was "putting the brakes" on Australians: "While Australian families are working harder to make ends meet, Bill Shorten has a plan that will have you stuck by the roadside."
Mr Shorten said Labor would not be "mandating anything".
"We've said that we would like to see a target of 50 per cent of new car sales in 12 years' time should be electric vehicles. If you want to keep driving a petrol car, you can. Excellent," he said.
"At the moment, all we get is the very expensive cars, but once we've got a government that is willing to put in charging stations so that people in the bush can use electric vehicles, why shouldn't Australians get access to vehicles that are cheaper on petrol?"