November 16, 2021
The Grattan Institute has released a new plan for more EVs and safer cities. Written by Marion Terrill, Ingrid Burford and Lachlan Fox it says Australia needs to switch to electric cars to cut carbon emissions, but we also need to ensure we don’t become more dependent on cars as we emerge from the COVID pandemic.
The Federal Government should impose a cap, or ceiling, on the emissions allowed from new cars sold in Australia each year, and to ratchet the ceiling down to zero by 2035, it recommends.
This would help Australia hit a national target of net zero by 2050 and save drivers money – because zero-emissions electric cars are much cheaper to run than high-emitting petrol and diesel cars.
But cheaper driving could mean more driving, so state and local governments should act to discourage driving and make public transport and cycling safer and more attractive.
They should impose congestion and per-kilometre charges on cars, make trains and buses as COVID-safe as possible,and do more to separate cars and trucks from cyclists and pedestrians.
Grattan Institute modelling shows that an emissions ceiling for new light vehicles could achieve at least 40 percent of Australia’s emissions reduction task between now and 2030, at virtually no cost to taxpayers.
Contrary to popular opinion, it will be easy for most Australians to charge electric cars, at home, at work, and on the road. Nearly two-thirds of Australian households with a car live in a detached or semi-detached home, and 95 per cent of those homes have off-street parking. Most of these drivers will find it easy and inexpensive to install electric-vehicle chargers.