US pull back on vehicle emissions timings should sound warning in Australia

21 March 2024

The National Farmers’ Federation says news overnight the United States Environmental Protection Agency has altered the timelines of its vehicle emission standards because of impacts on consumers and manufacturers should serve as a caution to the Australian Government about the potential impacts of the proposed New Vehicle Efficiency Standards (NVES).

NFF President David Jochinke said while there were of course some differences between the US and Australian markets, a rushed NVES policy would unduly impact producers and regional Australians.

“Farmers support efforts to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and the National Vehicle Efficiency Standards may be a way to incentivise people to switch to lower emission vehicles,” Mr Jochinke said.

“But for Australian farmers the options just aren’t there yet, meaning they will have no choice but to buy vehicles that will be penalised under this scheme.

“This is likely going to drive up the cost of farming with many vehicle manufacturers publicly stating this policy may see price hikes in vehicles.”

Mr Jochinke said there was yet to be viable alternatives on the Australian market that had equivalent features such as towing capacity, all-day range and durability of the internal combustion vehicles used every day on farms across the country.

“These vehicles are our tools of the trade in much the same way a journalist needs a laptop or a painter a paintbrush.”

The NFF has called on the Government to exclude vehicles used by primary producers from the scheme until such a time that genuine alternative options are available to them or it can be demonstrated that providers will not be left with a price increase on their existing vehicles.

“We have been encouraged by the willingness of Minister Bowen and Minister King to hear the concerns of the NFF and their openness to consider appropriate changes prior to finalising the policy,” Mr Jochinke said.

“We are watching closely to see if these changes address our concerns as the Government progresses this policy.”