Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Motorists taxed on car efficiency by 2010

By Renee Viellaris, September 15, 2008,

MOTORISTS could be taxed for driving pollution-pumping vehicles under a Federal Government plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

A Vehicle Fuel Efficiency discussion paper released by the Rudd Government yesterday laid out a number of "potential measures", which also included reducing the cost of state registration and stamp duty charges for energy-saving vehicles.

The paper comes as the Government has committed to including transport in its emissions trading scheme, which will increase the cost of fuel when it is introduced in 2010.

In a bid to help motorists battling prices at the bowser, the Government has pledged to shoulder fuel increases at the pump by every cent they rise under an ETS - but only for three years.

The report, which called for public feedback by November, said emissions from the transport sector were the nation's third largest.

With more than 14 million registered vehicles on the roads, it was also one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon pollution in Australia.

"There is no silver bullet for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the transport sector (and) instead we need a structured and measured approach to this issue," the report said.

"The Australian Government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme will be the primary mechanism for reducing carbon dioxide emissions on an economy-wide basis.

"Reforms to address fuel efficiency will need to be complementary to the scheme to help reduce travel costs and carbon emissions for Australian motorists."

It put forward the potential for financial rewards and disincentives for motorists who bought new cars.

"(Consider) the development of a framework to realign state and territory stamp duty and/or registration for light vehicles on a sliding scale based on carbon dioxide emissions," it said.

"(Consider) a balanced set of direct financial incentives (rebates) and disincentives (surcharges) for the purchase of new vehicles based on the carbon dioxide emissions performance of a vehicle."

It also proposed the potential for a mandatory carbon dioxide standard for new light vehicles.

It comes as Climate Change Minister Penny Wong attends a four-day meeting in Argentina ahead of new international negotiations on climate change.

The talks aim to expedite United Nations negotiations.

And Environment Minister Peter Garrett also announced yesterday an extra $7.5 million - on top of the $23 million already pledged - would be directed at saving the Great Barrier Reef.

He said up to $4.5 million would help monitor water quality in rivers and wetlands, $2 million would pay for new water quality technologies and $1 million would be offered to traditional owners to conserve turtles and dugongs.
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