New Zealand proposes subsidies for clean cars

New Zealand proposes subsidies for clean cars”

"Most Kiwis would like to buy a vehicle that is good for the environment, but tell us that the cost and limited choice make it a challenge", said Transportation Minister Julie Anne Genter in a New Zealand Herald report.

"It's disappointing to see the maximum fee for highly polluting vehicles capped at $3,000". Vehicles with middling fuel efficiency would face neither a discount nor a fee.

But not all vehicles would be emissions-free as Mr Hipkins said the government was waiting for more options to come on the market.

Cycling supremo Julie Anne Genter's leading the charge, telling us that most of us want to buy a vehicle that's good for the environment.

A Hyundai Ioniq battery electric vehicle (BEV).

New auto importers have welcomed government measures to reduce emissions from the transport fleet, but warn one of the initiatives - a proposed clean vehicle standard - may not be as effective as hoped.

People have until 20 August to tell the government whether they think this policy will help New Zealand meet its carbon reduction ambitions.

New Zealand's government wants to make imported electric and hybrid vehicles cheaper by up to 8,000 NZ dollars from 2021 onwards through discounts.

But a new Land Rover Sports V8 would be slapped with a $3000 high-emissions fee. "Kiwis pay hundreds more at the pump each year than people in the European Union simply because our cars are inefficient".

Ms Genter said that even if brands had a more environment-friendly vehicle, they were less likely to bring it to New Zealand "because we have no standards and because we have no incentives".

Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford says a clean auto standard - which would require dealers to lower the average emissions of cars they bring into the country - implies that distributors have more influence on consumers' choice of vehicle and the type of cars being made than is the case.

Emissions targets would be phased in gradually.

The age of New Zealand's vehicle fleet, looser emission standards, and the number of higher-emitting utes and SUVs mean the average motorist spends 65 percent more on fuel here than in the European Union. Meanwhile the fees will be used to subsidize buyers of electric and hybrid vehicles by up to 5,360 dollars.

Those tailpipe emissions will be determined by the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure, which is supposed to provide a more realistic assessment of the cars while also being harder to cheat.

The 2025 target (105 grams of Carbon dioxide per kilometre) is in line with the average fuel efficiency achieved by Japan in 2014.

It is estimated that more than 5 million tonnes of risky climate pollution will be prevented and the policy is expected to save the country more than 2.25 billion US dollars in fuel.

Genter said the economic evaluation shows the benefits of the clean vehicle standard outweigh the costs by a factor of 3 to 1.

"Shifting to electric and fuel-efficient vehicles is a smart economic decision", Meridian chief executive Neal Barclay said.

"While the government believes that we are not importing the best models, the reality is that new vehicle distributors simply supply what people buy", he said.

The government has proposed the clean auto discount should take effect after 2021 when the current road user charge exemption for electric vehicles expires.

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