Technology neutrality will provide better Australian outcomes than electric car obsession

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Minister Josh Frydenberg should avoid an expensive electric car fetish and not prevent Australian vehicles from being powered by gaseous fuels like LPG, CNG and LNG, which reduce pollution particulates almost to zero.

Australia’s peak body for downstream gaseous fuels, Gas Energy Australia encouraged Minister Frydenberg to stay on-track working towards achieving the Turnbull Government’s clean air agenda. He should put his efforts into improving fuel efficiency and reducing pollution across the transportation lifecycle with a technology neutral approach, rather than spruiking the electric car industry.

CEO of Gas Energy Australia John Griffiths said our cars and trucks ultimately should be cleaner, but there were other options that could do the job more effectively and affordably.

“Australian gaseous fuels can significantly reduce carbon emissions by up to an almighty 25 per cent,” said Mr Griffiths.

“Supporting more fuel efficient vehicles is not only better for our environment, they can also cut motorists’ running costs.”

“With Australia’s abundant supplies of gas, it makes no sense for Minister Frydenberg to single out the electric car industry for support, especially when there is evidence that electric vehicles have a bigger carbon footprint than gas fuelled ­internal combustion vehicles.”

“GEA believes it is vitally important to reduce all pollutants from vehicles, and also wants to ensure Australia reduces its dependence on imported, dirtier and more expensive oil-based fuels (ie petrol and diesel) for transport energy.”

The World Health Organisation has concluded that diesel particulates are cancer causing and that there is no safe level of airborne particulates – which are estimated to be causing up to 3,000 deaths a year in Australia*.

“We can’t ignore the need for cleaner fuel, but there are other low risk and affordable options that use Australia’s natural advantages and create Australian jobs.  For example, gaseous fuels are the only viable alternative to diesel for heavy transport applications like long haul trucking, rail and shipping,” said Mr Griffiths.

Mr Griffiths said the Australian gaseous fuels industry is already providing lower polluting Australian fuel options and innovative technology and practices to deliver cleaner and cheaper products, lower emissions and better outcomes for their customers.

Recent examples include LNG marine bunkering in Western Australia, High Density CNG fuel system technologies for mining vehicles developed in Queensland, including a ‘plug in plug out’ tank, the LPG Autogas Centre of Excellence in Melbourne and the interstate LPG dual fuel heavy truck trial.

“There are a range of available alternatives for a number of applications – which gas is better for many – that not only lower emissions but also reduce our dependence on foreign oil, while also creating Australian jobs,” said Mr Griffiths.

“But this is at risk if the Government strays from its previously professed policy of technology neutrality and effectively lets Elon Musk’s marketing become a substitute for good policy,” said Mr Griffiths.

Media contact: John Griffiths 0439 344 622

* Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, October 2014, It’s safe to say there’s no safe level of air pollution, Dr Adrian Barnett.

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