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Transparency in transport

Australians deserve a fair go when it comes to transport. We believe motorists should have real information about how much fuel their car will use on the road and its emissions, have access to car data, and continue to have the choice of independent repairer for their vehicle. We also call on the Government to invest all of our road taxes into infrastructure to improve safety and reduce congestion.

Real world emissions testing

The AAA and its member clubs believe that Australian motorists have a right to accurate information about fuel consumption and environmental performance when buying a new car. Currently, Australians are not able to make informed decisions about which car will put the least pressure on the family household budget.

In the wake of the Volkswagen AG scandal, the AAA tested 30 vehicles to quantify the difference between their results in standard laboratory testing, and the actual emissions they produce in the real world.

This real-world emission testing research revealed that on average, the cars tested used 23 per cent more fuel compared to the standard laboratory tests. Worryingly for consumers, the vehicle which produced the worst result was 59 per cent above the lab test and only three cars used the same amount of fuel on the road as they did in the lab.

These results reinforce concerns that consumers are paying for technologies which reduce consumption and emissions in a laboratory environment but fail to deliver the benefits in the real world. The AAA is calling for a real-world emissions testing for new cars, and to make that information available to consumers. View the AAA real-world testing proposal.

Mandatory Code for Access to service and repair information

The AAA and its member clubs believe that consumers should be able to choose which mechanic will service their vehicle. The AAA is concerned that the lack of access to service and repair information has restricted competition, ultimately leading to higher service and repair costs for consumers.

Accessing the technical service and repair information from a car manufacturer is often challenging and the current voluntary industry agreement has not delivered measurable outcomes.  Mandating independent access to service and repair information is critical to maintaining competition in the aftermarket sector.

The ACCC market study on the new car retailing industry recommended that the voluntary agreement on access to service and repair information be replaced with a mandatory scheme. 

The AAA supports the new mandatory scheme, expected to come into effect in July 2022, that will require vehicle manufacturers to share service and repair information with all vehicle repairers in Australia on commercially fair and reasonable terms. The scheme is necessary to support competition in the service and repair sector, and enable consumers to choose the repairer they believe will give them the best possible value. We look forward to being a member of the proposed industry body to act as a Scheme Adviser under the legislation.

Paying for our roads

The way Australians pay for their roads needs to change. Current infrastructure funding relies on revenue streams such as fuel excise and the shift to more efficient fuel technologies, including electric vehicles, is making this system unsustainable, inequitable, and inefficient.

The time has come to shift from the fuel excise to a fairer road-user charging system.

The tariffs and other federal taxes applied to new cars make the cost of purchasing new cars more expensive. This then flows through to the cost of second-hand vehicles, making it difficult for people on low incomes to purchase newer, safer, more fuel- efficient vehicles. This leads to poorer road safety and impairs environmental and affordability outcomes.

The AAA calls on the Australian Government to remove these taxes immediately from ultra-low fuel consumption vehicles, and then from the remaining light vehicle fleet over four years. This would help incentivise the uptake of ultra-low fuel consumption vehicles by making them more price competitive with traditional vehicles.

The AAA also calls for action to improve the fairness of the road user charging system. Under the existing fuel excise system, drivers of older or larger vehicles that use more fuel pay more per kilometre to use the same stretch of road as drivers of newer, smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Meanwhile, as technology changes, ultra-low fuel consumption / non-internal combustion engine vehicles can use the road network at no cost, as they are outside the fuel excise system.

The AAA has long called for a more transparent land transport funding model based on a user-pays system for all road users.

Fuel excise (currently 43.3 cents per litre) is today a proxy charge for road use. Moving to a market-based access system will allow future governments to transparently deliver priority transport outcomes such as safety, cost of living, environmental and health benefits through future pricing mechanisms

Fuel Standards

The AAA supports changing Australia’s fuel quality standards, as it will reduce the environmental impact of motoring, support greater supply of new vehicles with advanced engine technologies and enable the introduction of new vehicle emissions standards.

View the AAA submission on changes to fuel quality standards.