Australia must bring in vehicle fuel efficiency standards to ‘catch up’

We are asking RACV members to pressure RACV and the peak body, AAA

Read this blog for pointers on sending a short email or comment to the RACV and the AAA

  • Lack of stringent Fuel Efficiency Standards is leaving Australia as the dumping ground for polluting cars
  • Australia and Russia are the only two OECD nations without fuel efficiency standards
  • Put in writing your advocacy for the rapid adoption of strong fuel efficiency standards
  • Despite RACV and AAA having made commitments to the National EV Strategy you areconcerned to see the AAA holding joint events with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) on this matter, when the FCAI has been expressly, publicly campaigning for weak standards

If you are an RACV member, contact them on RACV Facebook (with membership number) and RACV contact form or if not use the Solar Citizens form here. You can contact the AAA here.


This is a critical moment for fuel efficiency standards

The Australian government is currently working on its National Electric Vehicle Strategy, part of which is the possible introduction of fuel efficiency standards. Australia and Russia are the only OECD countries that still don’t have mandated fuel efficiency standards.

We are calling on organisations like the RACV in Victoria and/or the AAA (Australian Automobile Association – the peak body for Australia’s motoring organizations) to advocate that we get strong fuel efficiency legislation – by 2023. If you already want to write a letter or email, skip to below “Calling on all RACV members and non-members – to get active” header below. Or read on for more background.

The background on Australia lagging on fuel efficiency and EV’s:

The introduction of vehicle emission standards in Australia would mean that car manufacturers would be required to not exceed an emissions cap across all new vehicles sold in a year. This averaging effectively forces manufacturers to both increase the volume of EVs they sell, and also stop dumping old highly polluting models, so as to reduce their average emissions per vehicle.

Organisations like Toyota and the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) however are seeking to defer and delay plans for Australia to catch up and legislate pro-emissions reduction, pro-EV policies. Toyota and the AAA  (on behalf of their members like RACV) want to defer and delay emissions reductions, and we think are either deliberately white-anting or else are slowing down efforts to bring about required changes. We think Toyota want to keep selling fossil fuel vehicles by slowing down EV uptake. Toyota’s stubbornness to embrace change has meant that just 0.2% of its total global production was EVs in 2022.

The RACV is a member of the AAA. The AAA position is that this fuel efficiency policy business is very complicated, and we need to sort out a myriad of issues before legislating emission standards (and encouraging EV’s – shades of the Morrison government position!). The latest AAA initiative is “real world testing” of vehicles “under Australian conditions”, requiring delays of 2+ years (year 2025) before we have ‘real-world test results that apply in Australia’ and could inform policy.

AAA: “Over time, as manufacturers respond, it is hoped the program can reduce the divergence between laboratory and real-world performance. Ongoing government support for an Australian real-world test program will be important to ensure future emissions policy development is based on real-world data”.

Say what?   AAA: 20221004 Our Journey to Greener Mobility.indd (

According to a recent post in The Driven, ” Australia’s fuel efficiency standards may be much weaker than New Zealand’s if Toyota has its way. Critics slammed Toyota last month after the Australian government published submissions to its National Electric Vehicle Strategy showing that Toyota was calling on the Australian government to include loopholes such as “super credits” and “off-cycle credits” that can obscure manufacturers’ true emissions.

Toyota is a chief among laggards. The Driven – “With nothing to offer people wanting to make the switch to EVs, Toyota aims to slow down the transition away from fossil fuelled vehicles to protect their market share of polluting vehicles”.

As well, the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) – the peak body for state-based motoring organisations like the RACV, RACQ and NRMA – is dragging their feet. We think they are being disingenuous regarding electric vehicles and the emissions reductions that would result. Rather they want to delay emissions standards until fuel excise and the link in fuel excise and EV road-use taxes for funding road infrastructure is sorted out. For example, this Blog on the AAA website asks lots of questions but has few answers:

“How will we pay to keep our transport infrastructure up to scratch? And how are we going to genuinely incentivise car makers to sell low emission vehicles to Australia, while at the same time keeping them honest”?

As well, we have recently become aware that the AAA is s planning to challenge the level of ambition we need for a Fuel Efficiency Standard. The AAA is suggesting that more ‘detailed work’ and more ‘analysis’ be undertaken to establish the costs and benefits associated with various targets/time-frame options. The AAA has also suggested that the Government should consider the many interrelated aspects of Australia’s vehicle transition in concert:  A) CO2 and noxious emissions reduction B) Fuel quality improvement C) Electricity and fuel security D) Tax reform  – the AAA applauds the Government’s ambition to reduce light vehicle emissions, but believes with this ambition comes a responsibility to accelerate the development of an equitable and sustainable taxation alternative (to the Commonwealth’s fuel excise regime).

This approach would almost certainly defer and delay emissions reductions and EV uptake. If these recommendations are followed it is likely that the introduction of Fuel Efficiency standards will be delayed further, and we will fall further behind the rest of the world.

Many are saying, and Lighter Footprints strongly supports the view, that Australia should follow the New Zealand model which doesn’t include any ‘super credits’ or ‘off-cycle credit’ loopholes.

This is not the time for providing loopholes in the new legislation. As well, many eminent groups including the EV Council and The Australia Institute have been calling on the government to introduce fuel efficiency standards, which have been in place in the US and Europe for many years.

Calling on all RACV members, and non-members – to get active:

We would like our Lighter Footprints supporters, especially RACV members, to lobby the RACV and or AAA to strengthen, not weaken their support for the early adoption of stringent Fuel Efficiency Standards (FES).

 Here are some points you may like to make in your email or letter or social media:

  • You (and Lighter Footprints) support the fact that RACV and AAA have made commitments to the National EV Strategy which mostly aligns with our Lighter Footprints submission (maybe send them the link).
  • You (and LF) are concerned that lack of stringent Fuel Efficiency Standards (FES) is leaving Australia as the dumping ground for polluting cars and restricting the range and quantity of EVs available to Australians. This is inconsistent with Australia’s national emissions reduction target of 43% by 2030.
  • You would like RACV and their peak body AAA to advocate for the rapid adoption of a strong FES, at least as stringent as the EU and NZ standards, without loopholes that car manufacturers can exploit
  • You (LF) are concerned to see the AAA holding joint events with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) on this matter, when the FCAI has been expressly, publicly campaigning for weak standards that will see Australia fall short of its 43% by 2030 emissions reduction target.  RACV/AAA should distance themselves from the FCAI on this and advocate for rapid adoption of Fuel emission standards.

Where to send your email or comment

If you are an RACV member, please contact them on or quoting your member number so they are compelled to listen.

 If you’re not an RACV member, you can still lobby them via Solar Citizens form at:

If you would like to contact the AAA, email via this link:  AAA Local Group to Support EV Ambition 

Contrary to past Government propaganda, there is no lack of demand for EVs, the problem is supply – manufacturers aren’t sending EVs to Australia because they aren’t compelled to – they can continue to sell us old polluting models – you can help address this by insisting that the National EV strategy is based on a stringent fuel efficiency standard.  Please ask RACV to advocate for this. And ask them to pressure the AAA for rapid adoption timelines.

Last but not least, so we can gauge the impact this campaign has, it would be great if you could please email or c.c. a copy of your letter to

Your planet and Lighter Footprints thanks you.