Aussies love ‘em big and dirty

Australia is one of the dirtiest countries in the world in this one particular way.

dirty exhaust car

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?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    13th Jun 2018
    What a load of rubbish this report is. Just another 'beat up'. I am an Aussie living in Philippines. They belch out more carbon monoxide here than Australia ever could. They drive large SUVs and Ute but more importantly, they do not understand the meaning of 'car maintenance' especially relating to the cleaning of fuel injectors etc.
    I go back to Australia every year to try and clear my lungs and I can hear them breath a 'sigh of relief'.
    13th Jun 2018
    I don't believe that vehicle emissions from large SUVs , utes and vans are driving (pardon the pun) up pollution to exceed that in the USA by 17%. Sounds false to me. The larger recreational diesel vehicles are imported from the USA and are fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction Systems. These SCR systems are fuelled on urea which reduces the oxides in the exhaust, giving the appearance of a small puff of steam when under stress.
    13th Jun 2018
    My purchasing of SUV is simply because of MY aged body I can get in and out without banging my head or doubling into a letter Z :-) The modern sedans are so streamlined that one needs to be young and supple to get in. I know many seniors with the same reasons for owning SUV's
    13th Jun 2018
    This is an interesting issue and there is a lot of finger pointing to various reasons as to why we have a car pollution problem? It ranges from cars being dumped onto the Aust market with substandard vehicle emission systems that do not comply overseas so they dump them here because our emission guidelines are so weak. The next reason is that our fuel is the dirtiest (both Petrol and Diesel) that you can find and you wonder why we find it hard to achieve the same results that are achieved overseas. High sulphur content in petrol and poorly refined diesel surely contribute to the problem. Perhaps we should go back to refining our own petrol and diesel so that we can keep some control over the quality of fuel.
    Ted Wards
    13th Jun 2018
    Like all things to do with environment and pollution Australia is just playing and not taking it seriously. I could not get over the km's of wind turbines on a recent trip through Prague to Amsterdam then down to France. We could do a lot more and be world leaders but obviously the profit is not here yet to make it worthwhile. Once we have no choice and its really expensive we will see the change because the profit will be there. I guess once the air is no longer breathable we can all breathe money instead....
    13th Jun 2018
    Like all things with the environment, this is such a dishonest beat up.

    With internal combustion engine cars a full 50% of the "POLUTION" it will produce in it's lifetime is in it's manufacture & transport to it's point of sale. It is much less polluting to drive an old car, than buy a new one, even if you never drive it.

    Secondly an electric or hybrid car produces over 60% of it's lifetime "POLUTION" with it's manufacture & the manufacture of it's batteries.

    Oh & if you really want to seriously reduce vehicular pollution, just remove all those stinking government busses from the road.

    Wouldn't it be wonderful if greenies could be charged as confidence tricksters for the lies they tell.
    14th Jun 2018
    As Elvis said, we're caught in a trap. Show us how to keep industry humming along so that we continue to improve our lifestyle and we will gladly follow. But please don't slow industry by artificially driving up costs which will eventually put us on pushbikes and make us late for work.
    13th Jun 2018
    Could be as simple as more rural vehicles where people get tax deduction if its used in primary production.
    We haven't taken to electric vehicles because they don't go far enough on a charge.
    I drive 1.5 litre French car. Maybe small cars are too expensive.
    13th Jun 2018
    Reading this if we are such dirty country..why does our government approved importing cars from over seas.these electric cars are not cheap buy plus electric so expensive so all it go back to government. Don't blame us the people we only told by car sale yard.. I have never heard so much crap coming from this report. Last I heard U.S.A was cleaning up their act with carbon monoxide, did they do it ? NO. How dare you come out with report so beat up not funny. Get head out from clouds blame importers start making our own cars instead shutting down factory s
    You sure got my temper going .
    13th Jun 2018
    Can the author of this article please clarify where in the Australian NTC June 2018 information paper any reference is made to comparing Australian and US vehicle emissions. Reviewing the report I only find reference to European versus Australian emissions which are as reported in the article. For those who question the information paper it was completed by the Australian National Transport Commission which is an independent statutory body not a green group of any sort. Interesting that the paper also shows Holden as having the highest emissions of 2017 Australian produced vehicles - suspect it was all those people buying the last great Aussie V8s and that 2018 figures will show a drop for Holden overall.
    13th Jun 2018
    If the comments above are true, why doesn't Australia have strict regulations regarding emissions? These can be applied to all vehicles, old or new, and the implementation of a system similar to the UK MOT test should ensure that the vehicle is in a roadworthy condition. Linking the result to the ANPR system should ensure compliance with the law.
    14th Jun 2018
    I cant believe the trend of the last 5 years of big USELESS SUVs, Yank Utes etc. and I see a few cheap ones coming up for sale at current fuel (fool) prices.
    Again out Government failed to rein this practine in as all they could see was fuel tax coming in.
    16th Jun 2018
    Agree - a lot of rubbish. More CO2 means better pastures, better growth of crops etc. Any small increase in temperatures gives better living conditions in many parts of this country.
    16th Jun 2018
    What a ridiculous article including the nonsensical statement "Australia is one of the dirtiest countries in the world when it comes to cars, trailing well behind Europe and the USA..".
    Don't the article writers know there is a bigger world out there - such as India (check New Delhi "haze" every day), China (check Beijing pollution index), besides other populous countries such as Phillippines mentioned above by mogo51, Brazil (Rio?), Indonesia, etc, etc. Our cities are so much cleaner with visibility generally over 14km on any day!

    Sick of this greenie nonsense - unless all these highly populous countries with huge numbers of vehicles and coal burning industries cut back on their pollution emissions, we are a DUD country to even bother about it with our tiny population.
    17th Jun 2018
    I read somewhere that at one time, and not too far back, George, Australia was classed as being, not one but, 'the' most polluted country, per capita, in the world and it's nice to see that this is no longer the case.
    The article, as you have pointed out, states that Australia trails behind Europe and the USA (there's no mention that I can see about it trailing behind elsewhere) so I fail to see how pointing a finger at other countries as being worse than Australia is a reason to justify why Australian vehicles (supposedly) pollute so much.
    We all need to do our bit but waiting for others to start first is hardly an answer.
    Putting tighter controls on vehicle emissions would be a start and don't you think that it would be great if Australia was looked upon as being the 'trailblazer' for at least something.

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