Australia to Restrict Sale of High-Polluting Vehicles with New Fuel Standards

The Australian federal government is set to implement new fuel quality and noxious emission standards in an effort to improve public health and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector. The changes are projected to save $6.1 billion in health and fuel costs by the year 2040.

Starting in 2025, the new standards will focus on lowering noxious emissions from light vehicles, which will effectively limit the sale of highly polluting cars and trucks. As a result, Australia will adopt the “Euro 6d” noxious emissions standards, removing nearly 18 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector by 2050.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen stated that these updates will significantly reduce the harmful effects of noxious vehicle emissions on public health, likening the reduction to taking 280,000 cars off the road. Australia will align with 80 percent of the global car market, including the United States, Canada, the EU, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Korea, and India.

Under the new standards, new versions of cars, SUVs, and light commercial vehicles sold from December 2025 will need to comply with Euro 6d noxious emissions standards, with new vehicles from existing lines required to adhere to the standards by 2028. The changes follow extensive consultation with industry, consumer groups, and the community, with the government promising to communicate the changes to motorists before the improved fuel standard comes into effect.

In addition to the noxious emissions standards, the new regulations will also reduce the level of aromatic hydrocarbons in 95 RON petrol to a maximum of 35 percent. Aromatics, which are a natural component of crude oil, have been linked to adverse health effects, including an increased risk of several types of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The government has emphasized that the existing 91 and 98 RON petrol grades and diesel will remain unaffected by the changes, and all vehicles will be able to use the new 95 RON petrol. To ease the transition for fuel suppliers and customers, the government has announced plans to align the reduction in sulfur limits for all petrol with the new aromatics limits.

While motorists can expect a slight increase in fuel costs as a result of the new standards, the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water has assured that the benefits of the initiative, including the import of more fuel-efficient vehicles and health savings, will far outweigh the costs.

Overall, the new fuel quality and noxious emission standards are poised to lead to significant improvements in public health and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions in Australia’s transport sector.


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