Anthony Albanese insists tradies, grey nomads will still be able to buy utes, caravans under new fuel standards plan

Anthony Albanese has denied tradies and grey nomads could soon be forced to give up their utes and caravans under a plan to overhaul the nation’s fuel efficiency standards.

The changes would incentivise the car industry to boost the sales of low and zero emissions vehicles or face fines for selling too many fuel-hungry cars

Motoring bodies have warned that tradies and families could have fewer choices if popular utes, four-wheel drives and light commercial vehicles were phased out of the market before there are EV alternatives.

But speaking on Thursday, the Prime Minister said people wouldn’t have to give up their car of choice.

“There is no compulsion. People can drive whatever vehicles they like,” he told Adelaide radio Five AA.

“All we’re doing here is bringing our emission standards to the same level by 2028 that the United States of America has had in place for some time.

“There’s a few big vehicles in the United States. Indeed, they’re a fair bit bigger than vehicles that are available here.

“What we want to avoid is Australia just becoming a dumping ground for the dirtiest vehicles.”

The Albanese government says the new rules would bring Australia in line with most other major economies and save motorists about $1000 a year in average fuel costs by 2028.

While particular models won’t be banned, car brands would be bound by a cap on average emissions, which the government proposes to slash by 60 per cent by the end of the decade.

It comes as the Electric Vehicle Council has demanded the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries to formally withdraw claims about the policy’s potential impact on car prices.

It’s claimed popular models such as the Ford Raptor could become $6000 more expensive under the proposal.

But an internal briefing paper, obtained by the Nine Newspapers, shows its own modelling found battery and electric cars and utes will outsell combustion engine vehicles sold in Australia by 2030, even without a change to the fuel standards.

EVC chief executive Behyad Jafar described the claim as “not honest or credible”.

“You won’t hear any actual car maker echo the FCAI’s claims because they know their credibility would be shredded if they did,” he said.

“This idea that car makers would suddenly jack up prices by huge amounts is pure fantasy, and anyone objective will tell you this.”

The government will continue to consult on the standard and plans to introduce a regulator to oversee compliance before year’s end.

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