The Greens promise to push for electric cars to replace hybrid models such as BMW’s i8.
The Greens promise to push for electric cars to replace hybrid models such as BMW’s i8.

Greens call for combustion engine bans within a decade

PETROL, diesel and hybrid cars would be banned by 2030 in plans by The Greens to revolutionise transport in Australia.

Manufacturers and car dealers have not reacted warmly to the proposal, calling for balance as the future of transportation takes shape.

The Greens made headlines this week, calling for a ban on coal-fired power among a raft of emissions-related policy points.

Automotive proposals include improved electric vehicle charging infrastructure, reductions in taxes for low emissions vehicles and stronger emissions standards for combustion-powered cars.

Australian Greens transport and infrastructure spokeswoman Senator Janet Rice says a lack of strategy from the Federal Government "means Australia isn't even in the slow lane when it comes to electric vehicles".

"We're stalled on the sidelines," she says. "The Labor Party isn't much better, watering down the recommendations in the Senate inquiry report.

"The major parties have no plan, no policies and no incentives to drive electric vehicle uptake.

"The Greens are the only party with a real plan to get Australia in the fast lane so that we can reap the rewards that will come from electric vehicles."

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber says parts of The Greens policy missed the mark - including a 17 per cent tax on internal combustion engine vehicles.

"Make no mistake - we certainly need a focus on encouraging low emission vehicles here, but it's madness to consider a mass 'luxury' car tax on (internal combustion engine) vehicles," Weber says.

"Are you going to place a luxury car tax on a $14,000 vehicle just because it has a (low output) petrol engine? Where's the sense in that?"

Praising The Greens' environmental focus, however, Weber says car makers favour a "considered approach" including support for low emissions technology, lower registration costs and cuts to tariffs including the luxury car tax.

Australian Automotive Dealer Association chief executive David Blackhall does not view taxes as the answer.

"We support The Greens' intention to reduce transport emissions but the way to do that is to remove older vehicles from the roads, not increase the price of new vehicles, which are cleaner and more efficient," he says.

"Regulations seeking to reduce vehicle emissions should avoid dramatic price increases and restriction of choice, as this may lead to reduced new car sales, which will hurt industry and result in poor environmental outcomes.

"The focus should be on making greener vehicles more affordable and convenient, not making new vehicles more expensive."