Aussies love ‘em big and dirty

A new report has revealed that Australia is one of the dirtiest countries in the world in this one particular way. Can you guess what it is?

This just in: Australia is one of the dirtiest countries in the world when it comes to cars, trailing well behind Europe and the USA when it comes to driving ‘clean’ cars. So, what is it about those big exhaust pipes that gets our engines revving?

A new report from the National Transport Commission (NTC) has found that between 2016 and 2017, Australia achieved only a small annual reduction in carbon omission intensity from newly sold vehicles. In English, that means Australians buying new cars are opting for vehicles that cause a lot of pollution, instead of moving towards ‘greener’ options as seen in the European market.

This is largely (pun intended) because we like ‘em big – heavier vehicles such as SUVs, utes and vans are popular in Australia. The big engines in these vehicles need more fuel to run, and therefore create more pollution.

The result is a dirtier set of cars on our roads, to the tune of 45 per cent higher emissions than Europe and, surprisingly, 17 per cent higher emissions than the USA. The report also found that if all Australians who purchased a new vehicle chose those with ‘best-in-class’ emissions ratings, the national average carbon emissions intensity could have been reduced by nearly 60 per cent. So it’s not just about choosing big cars, it’s also that Australians aren’t going for greener big cars.

On a more positive note for the environment, the take-up of electric vehicles rose by 77 per cent, with a whopping 2424 electric vehicles sold in 2017. That’s almost as many sausages as a Bunnings store can sell in an hour on a rainy day.

What the report failed to mention was the contributing factor of electric car infrastructure in Australia, or the lack of it, especially when compared to Europe. I can drive from one end of Italy to the other, through six major cities, in less time than it takes to drive from Melbourne to Sydney. I’m a bit of a greenie, but even I can see that Australian driving and European driving are very different, and until the range of electric vehicles increases, they won’t be appropriate for Aussie drivers covering these distances.

Are you surprised that Aussies are still buying some of the dirtiest cars in the world? Did you consider emissions when you bought your last car? Or have you gone really green and ditched the car altogether?

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YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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