Home » fresh car ratings 2017 » What do we do in Fresh Zealand about the emissions and fuel efficiency of our vehicle fleet?

What do we do in Fresh Zealand about the emissions and fuel efficiency of our vehicle fleet?

What do we do in Fresh Zealand about the emissions and fuel efficiency of our vehicle fleet?

Not much. Does it matter? Yes, it does. And what can we do about it?

Vehicle harass emissions matter from a human health point of view. Motor vehicles produce fine particulate matter, unburnt hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants. The fine particulate matter alone was estimated in two thousand two to cause three hundred ninety nine premature adult deaths per year. That`s a lot. Compare it with the death toll from road vehicle crashes, two hundred ninety seven in 2014. Vehicle emissions matter to the global climate. The transport sector, predominated by motor vehicles, contributes 19% of Fresh Zealand`s total GHG emissions. In addition there are sound economic and energy security reasons why fuel economy matters even like now when oil prices are low.

There are four different types of regulatory lever used in different countries to improve vehicle emissions.

  1. Fuel efficiency standards, or fuel economy standards, for motor vehicles. They work on fuel consumption per kilometre – on miles per gallon or litres per hundred km. The American Corporate Average Fleet Economy or «CAFE» standards have step by step required better spectacle in passenger cars and light trucks. The standard is an average for each manufacturer or importer, so that the company has plasticity in suggesting a range of different vehicles. Fresh Zealand has no such standards.
  2. Vehicle emission standards. For many years these have been addressed to local or regional air pollution. Fresh Zealand has such standards, as we will see in a minute. In some countries vehicle emission standards control GHG emission, in grams of CO2 equivalent per kilometre travelled.
  3. Renewable fuel content standards, which require a minimum percentage of biofuel in the fuel sold to road users. Low-carbon fuel requirements are a more latest variation. Fresh Zealand had a biofuel standard until 2008.
  4. Labelling requirements, which make sure that purchasers of vehicles have information about fuel economy before buying. Fresh Zealand has these in the Energy Efficiency (Vehicle Fuel Economy Labelling) Regulations 2007.

The Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Harass Emissions two thousand seven is made under the Land Transport Act 1988. It regulates emissions of substances directly harmful to human health, but not carbon dioxide emissions. Fresh Zealand government policy is to go after the Australian Design Rules, which permit different standards but mainly the European Union`s regulations. There is a lag behind Europe of four or five years in bringing the standards into force; for example, Fresh Zealand is in the course of introducing the Euro five standard 2013-2016, while in Europe that occurred in 2009-2011.

But we do not test vehicles for their compliance with this emissions rule. The result is that the original manufacture of the vehicle complied with rules such as the Euro rules (unless it is fairly old) but the vehicle`s current emissions spectacle will not have been checked unless it is spewing out visible smoke. Given that the average vehicle in the Fresh Zealand fleet was manufactured fourteen years ago, that is a lot of potential for the spectacle to weaken. Fresh Zealand is an exception in its failure to test vehicles for emissions. Most US states and Canadian provinces have routine compulsory inspections for much of their fleet.

As for fuel efficiency or GHG emissions, Fresh Zealand does nothing except the labelling requirement. Most countries use fuel efficiency regulations to require vehicle manufacturers or importers to improve the energy efficiency of fresh light duty vehicles. Over 80% of global fresh passenger car sales are subject to such regulations. (The US, Canada, China and Japan have also adopted them for mighty duty vehicles.) Of developed countries, Fresh Zealand seems to be accompanied only by Russia and Australia in not having such regulations. (Australia has had a voluntary scheme.) Fresh Zealand and Australia are far out of step with normal practice internationally. Even Saudi Arabia is introducing a CAFE standard.

A fuel economy standard was considered in 2008, but after a switch of government it was dropped. The government said that the standard would be elaborate and that its costs would outweigh its benefits. It noted Fresh Zealand has included vehicle fuels in its Emissions Trading Scheme, and that there was a voluntary trend towards more efficient vehicles.

Is it enough that petrol and diesel are covered by the Emissions Trading Scheme? Not truly. They are covered by the general watering-down of two thousand nine to give up one unit for every two tonnes of emissions, and the price of Fresh Zealand units has never become significant. In any event we need an «all of the above» treatment to the fat problem of climate switch, not just one instrument. Efficiency standards are found in many countries and jurisdictions where there is also a general price on carbon, such as the EU, California, British Columbia and Quebec.

We can`t rely on other countries` fuel efficiency standards if they are fleet averages. If a car manufacturer produces low-efficiency vehicles, it is constrained in most markets by an obligation to sell high-efficiency vehicles as well, in order to meet the average; but in Fresh Zealand, it can sell as many of its low-efficiency vehicles as it likes. Nor can we plead that we do not host vehicle manufacturers; the standards work just as well for imports as domestically-produced vehicles.

We do not factor in the real costs of air pollution or GHG emissions. To tackle those costs, we need a cleaner and more efficient vehicle fleet. The fleet improves step by step with ordinary technical and economic compels, but we need to accelerate the switch significantly. Technically, it is fairly possible to do so. Introducing regulations for fuel efficiency or for GHG emissions, is very likely the single most effective step Fresh Zealand could take to reduce its emissions. At the same time we should stir to test vehicles for compliance with vehicle emissions standards in order to reduce the human health influence of our vehicle fleet. Taking these two steps would bring us into the international mainstream.

I`d be interested to know your opinion in the comments below.

Barry Barton is a Professor of Law at the University of Waikato, and Director of the Centre of Environmental, Resources and Energy Law.

Related movie:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *