AAA Reacts to Comments by the Member for Dawson


The Executive Director of the Australian Automobile Association, Lauchlan McIntosh, expressed surprise and dismay over claims by the Federal Member for Dawson, De-Anne Kelly, that his Association had somehow allowed sub-standard vehicles, unable to use ethanol blends, into Australia.


Mr. McIntosh said it was clear Mrs Kelly did not understand the role of the AAA, the structure of the Australian vehicle fleet or that her own Leader, John Anderson, and his department, had responsibility for vehicle standards in this country.


"I suspect Mrs Kelly has unfortunately been misled by overzealous promoters of ethanol fuel in Australia," Mr. McIntosh said.


"The AAA represents motorists in Australia, not vehicle manufacturers. We are a consumer organisation representing over six million motorists and we take the role of protecting our members very seriously.


"In relation to standards, AAA has been a very strong advocate of improving vehicle standards and fuel quality and efficiency for a number of years, but the Government has failed to adequately address these issues. Australian Design Rules (ADRs) in areas such as vehicle safety remain well below world's best practice.


"Mrs Kelly also needs to understand that the average age of cars in Australia is 10 years. Even if manufacturers started immediately building engine systems to handle ethanol, one in every five vehicles (just over two-million) still could not use it because they were manufactured pre 1986.  And according to the manufacturers list released this week, a further one to two million in the existing fleet also should not use it. That's between 30% and 40% of the Australian vehicle fleet," he said.


"If the promoters of ethanol had done their homework properly, they would have realised that ethanol was unsuitable for much of the Australian vehicle fleet. Cars produced in the United States are built specifically to use ethanol blends. That is because ethanol blends have been in the US market for 25 years and so should not be compared with Australian made vehicles.


"Finally, I make the point again that AAA is not opposed to the use of ethanol blends in the fuel mix. We do believe, however, that consumers must be fully informed of whether or not their vehicle is suitable to use the product and to do that we can only rely on advice from vehicle manufacturers and importers," Mr. McIntosh said.

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