Home > Environment > Fuel efficiency standards could help curb Australia’s persistently growing emissions

Fuel efficiency standards could help curb Australia’s persistently growing emissions

December 24th, 2016
Categories: Environment Tags:
  1. Ben
    December 24th, 2016 at 22:00 | #1

    This article is timely as much more attention now needs to be paid to the transportation sector. Reading JQ’s article, I was thinking that there is some similarity here between using less carbon intensive fuels in power stations or jumping straight to renewable sources (carbon price vs RET). We face a similar decision with cars: clean up petrol cars or put incentives in place for a transition to a much better alternative (electric vehicles)?

  2. Paul Foord
    December 26th, 2016 at 09:08 | #2

    the tax take on petrol will also go up with the price, hitting those with lower incomes harder.

  3. Collin Street
    December 26th, 2016 at 09:22 | #3

    the tax take on petrol will also go up with the price, hitting those with lower incomes harder.

    Well yes. That’s precisely why we have disparities in income, so that some people have greater freedom of action than others.

  4. Paul Foord
    December 26th, 2016 at 14:54 | #4

    Collin, you do not see a pattern of reducing taxes on the wealthy – increasing them on the poor? (taking other budgetary measures into account.) Or is that the way it should be?

  5. Ronald Brakels
    December 26th, 2016 at 15:13 | #5

    I’ll mention that removing sulfur from petrol is cheap. I’d have to look up the details to be sure, but it’s about a cent or so a liter.

    Australian refineries currently already remove sulfur, they’d just have to remove more. We should all help them out in this by using less oil so they won’t have to invest in extra sulfur removal capacity. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the gesture.

    The good news is electric cars seem set to start eating into Australia’s oil consumption. Because we don’t have any specific incentives for electric vehicles, only our general fuel excises, its easy to be unaware of how much progress is being made in China and other countries.

    There are well over 100,000 electric buses in China now and to me they look competitive with diesel buses and have enough range to be dropped in as a replacement. As the electric buses will receive the most use because of their lower running costs they’ll take a bigger piece out of oil consumption than their initial numbers would suggest. I expect much the same to happen with taxis before long.

  6. Collin Street
    December 26th, 2016 at 15:45 | #6

    Collin, you do not see a pattern of reducing taxes on the wealthy – increasing them on the poor? (taking other budgetary measures into account.) Or is that the way it should be?

    Just pointing out the bigger context: “market solutions” and “price signals” always/invariably mean, inter alia, “shaft the poor”.

  7. James Wimberley
    December 26th, 2016 at 22:19 | #7

    A great deal of the action on transport emissions is now being driven by big cities. London will bring in its ultra-low-emission central zone in September 2020. Others including Paris and Berlin are flirting seriously with similar plans, like banning diesels. The argument is more driven by the local air pollution costs to health directly experienced by city voters. These voters include few workers in mimes and refineries, which are usually elsewhere. The politics of action are quite solid and bipartisan – Boris Johnson continued Red Ken Livingstone’s congestion zones and green transport policies in London. Having a love life, sense of wit and lack of scruple straight out of the 18th century do not seem essential to the formula.

    Melbourne and Sydney are members of the C40 association of climate-activist cities, now confusingly up to 90 members. What are are their plans? Emission zones? Ev charging networks? Access by evs to HOV lanes? Electric buses? Taxi regulation?

  8. James Wimberley
    December 26th, 2016 at 22:27 | #8

    @Ronald Brakels
    There are substantial system costs to a switch to electric buses. You need to buy a lot of chargers for the garages, and retrain drivers and mechanics. It’s much cheaper to switch at scale than in penny packets. That’s why adoption of electric buses has been so slow outside China, along with ant-Chinese protectionism. But when the dam breaks – let’s hope in 2017 – it could go very fast. London has already switched its small fleet of single-deckers, but the double-deckers that make up most of the fleet are still in trials.

  9. rog
    December 27th, 2016 at 07:02 | #9

    Re chargeable tools and utility items are replacing the combustion engine – whipper snippers, blowers, trimmers etc etc. Benefits of weight reduction, elimination of polluting vapours & noise & not having to carry fuel far outweigh any negatives, if there are any.

    Tradies use rechargeables as they don’t require tagging and extension cords, just a point to recharge.

    The Li-ion battery technology is advancing in leaps and bounds.

  10. rog
    December 27th, 2016 at 07:05 | #10

    And it’s worth it to cabbies to use hybrids. Running costs on a Prius are far less than say a Merc – brake pads for one example.

  11. Ben
    December 27th, 2016 at 09:19 | #11

    @James Wimberley
    The ACT Government has announced it will be trialling three electric buses from this January. The charging infrastructure is cheap as chips compared to the costs of maintaining your own diesel storage facilities.

  12. Ikonoclast
    December 27th, 2016 at 10:06 | #12

    A second attempt to not get moderated.

    Kangaroos are more fuel efficient than cattle. We should be eating kangaroo.

    “Despite having herbivorous diets similar to ruminants such as cattle, which release large quantities of methane through exhaling and eructation (burping), kangaroos release virtually none. The hydrogen byproduct of fermentation is instead converted into acetate, which is then used to provide further energy. Scientists are interested in the possibility of transferring the bacteria responsible from kangaroos to cattle, since the greenhouse gas effect of methane is 23 times greater than that of carbon dioxide, per molecule.” – Wikipedia.

    Instead of transferring the bacteria to cattle we should simply move from eating cattle to eating kangaroo (and in the process eat much less red meat anyway). The real reason that the use of kangaroo as a major meat animal is resisted is that it is not herd-able and fence-able. It is not amenable to private ownership of herds. It is not a production method amenable to capitalist organization. However, with social ownership the animal becomes more use-able. The incentive to use kangaroo for meat would be higher under a socialized system. The federal government would own the animals and the land and then lease rights (via royalties) for harvesting and processing the animal.

    We need to think outside the capitalist box or we will keep on heading for collapse. Capitalism is at odds with empirical reality in a number of ways. It is a system socially and ecologically unsustainable in the long run. It is a system axiomatically near-certain (and proven near-certain by now) to destroy the environment. It is based on the “free lunch” from that destruction. But this is a once-only free lunch. Once the environmental capital is substantially destroyed, capitalism collapses.

  13. Tim Macknay
    January 3rd, 2017 at 12:50 | #13

    The incentive to use kangaroo for meat would be higher under a socialized system. The federal government would own the animals and the land and then lease rights (via royalties) for harvesting and processing the animal.

    That is pretty much how the current system for managing the production of kangaroo meat works. The only difference is that the animals are the property of state governments, rather than the federal one. That system delivers kangaroo meat to my local supermarket pretty reliably, albeit in smaller quantities than beef. It’s generally cheaper than beef (although there is some kind of price war going on at present that is driving down the price of beef mince below cost).

Comments are closed.