Halt sale of petrol vehicles by 2035: Victorian advisory group08/19/2021
Victoria should stop the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage more people to buy zero-emissions cars, says the state’s key infrastructure adviser.
Widespread electric car use will not only significantly reduce emissions and help the state to reach its net zero target by 2050, but also save millions of dollars each year in health and environmental benefits, says Infrastructure Victoria in its report, Victoria’s infrastructure strategy 2021-2051, tabled in parliament on Thursday.
Victoria needs to stop selling petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035 at the latest, Infrastructure Victoria says.
“Accelerating the uptake of EVs will ensure Victoria does not get left behind by the rest of the world in one of the most significant transformations in transport since the emergence of the internal combustion engine,” the report says.
Transport is the state’s second-biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, after its ageing coal-fired power plants, and these emissions are still rising. Cars are responsible for half of these transport emissions.
Electric Vehicle council chief executive Behyad Jafari said to reach net zero by 2050, 2035 was the very latest Victoria could stop selling new petrol and diesel vehicles, given the average petrol vehicle had a lifetime of about 15 years.
Victoria has a target of 50 per cent of all new car sales being zero emission vehicles by 2030, but Mr Jafari said the state was not on track to achieve this.
The Andrews government was heavily criticised when it introduced an electric vehicle tax in May, which means electric vehicle drivers now pay 2.5 cents for every kilometre they drive.
“Victoria is essentially asking investors in the EV industry to ‘trust us’, but given what’s happened in the last six months, trust isn’t very high,” Mr Jafari said.
Infrastructure Victoria says while there are other ways to reduce transport emissions – like encouraging public transport and walking and cycling – many Victorians rely on private vehicles and will into the future.
But barriers to this transition remain: the cost of zero-emissions vehicles, limited charging infrastructure and “range anxiety” – where consumers worry they won’t be able to travel sufficient distances in an electric vehicle.
Manufacturers and consumers are caught in a vicious cycle where car companies are reluctant to bring zero emissions vehicle models to Australia without policies to encourage their uptake, and consumers feel hesitant to make the switch because of limited options, the report finds.
Only 6900 EVs were sold in Australia last year, up only 2.7 per cent from 2019.
The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report found global emissions must peak within the next four years to keep warming at 1.5 degrees.
And although Victoria has joined other global jurisdictions by setting a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, this is unlikely to happen if the state’s transport emissions continue to increase.
Infrastructure Victoria advises the state government to no longer register new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035 at the latest, through increasingly stringent vehicle registration emissions standards. It also recommends the government create an EV charging network strategy
In its report Infrastructure Victoria also made recommendations about the state’s gas transmission network, saying the government should avoid anything that would expand it and amend planning regulations to make it clear that new housing estates do not need to be connected to gas.
Combusting gas and fugitive emissions (losses or leaks into the atmosphere) are responsible for about 20 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Environment Victoria spokesman Nick Aberle said he agreed that Victoria shouldn’t be doing anything that encouraged new gas connections but thought the recommendation could have gone further to actively discouraged or ban them.
“In the context of the IPCC report it’s clear you can’t make gas clean in the timeframe we’ve got,” he said.
Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has been contacted for comment.
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