Motoring peak body to test Australian vehicle emissions
Australia's peak motoring body will fund research analysing the real-world emissions of Australian cars to help inform the establishment of a more appropriate national testing regime.
The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) will undertake the 18 month research project following revelations that more than 10 million Volkswagen Group vehicles have been fitted with "defeat device" software designed to understate emissions produced in laboratory settings.
The AAA will use the program to inform the Australian Government's Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions consultations, which continue today in Sydney.
AAA Chief Executive Michael Bradley said: "Action must be taken to test the emissions claims made by vehicle manufacturers and as the leading consumer advocate for almost eight million Australian motorists, the AAA is willing to step up to the plate.
"There is a debate emerging around the adequacy of Australia's current vehicle emission standards, but this debate risks being rendered meaningless unless a more relevant testing regime is put in place.
"The Volkswagen scandal clearly shows that regulators across the globe now need to be assessing the emissions produced by vehicles in the real-world, not just those produced in a laboratory.
"The AAA is very concerned that the Government currently has no capacity to test, audit, or enforce elements of its current vehicle emissions regulatory regime, which is why the AAA has commissioned an independent engineering firm to commence on-road testing of Australian vehicles in early 2016.
"To accurately inform the Government's deliberations on these matters, the AAA's testing will be consistent with the Real Driving Emissions methods and protocols developed by the European Commission and will assess the emissions produced by popular vehicles on the Australian market, when driven on Australian roads, in Australian conditions.”
Volkswagen Australia announced on 9 October 2015 that it would recall more than 77,000 Volkswagen and Skoda cars. Sister brand Audi has also confirmed that 14,000 Australian vehicles are affected. Globally more than 10 million cars across Volkswagen Group's Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat brands are affected.
The Federal Government announced in October the establishment of a Ministerial Forum responsible for developing a whole-of-government approach to issues associated with the regulation of Australian vehicle emissions.
The Forum will report on options for managing fuel quality standards, new measurement reporting standards for air pollutants, and new measures to deliver Australia’s 2030 climate change targets.
The AAA recently released the Greenhouse & Vehicle Emissions Policy Principles that will guide its ongoing policy development in this field and its assessment of proposed regulatory options. The Principles are:
- The AAA endorses greenhouse and other pollution abatement measures that deliver abatement at least cost to vehicle owners and the broader Australian economy, balancing the affordability and sustainability of motoring in Australia;
- The AAA endorses a policy response underpinned by equity and flexibility and which does not prescribe sector, purpose, or technology-specific outcomes;
- The AAA endorses a whole-of-economy consideration of both the issues of air quality improvement and greenhouse gas emission reduction, and the measures introduced to deliver desired outcomes;
- The choice of vehicle types offered to the Australian market should not be restricted;
- The adoption of any foreign or international emissions standards must take into consideration the Australian new vehicle fleet and how and why it differs from those found in other markets; and
- Independent testing of vehicle emissions under real world driving conditions must be undertaken using Australian vehicles on Australian roads.