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by Tim Beissmann

The Australian Government has announced the timeline for its introduction of tighter exhaust emissions regulations.

The new emissions standards will significantly reduce the amount of tailpipe pollution produced by new vehicles on our roads and wipe $1.5 billion off Australia’s public health bill over 20 years. Read our latest editorial for a full analysis of the new regulations and their impact on the Australian automotive industry.

Beginning on November 1, 2013, all new models of cars, SUVs and light commercial vehicles will have to comply with what is known as “core” Euro 5 emissions standards.

Core Euro 5 has relaxed targets for particulate matter emissions and NOx (oxides of nitrogen) emissions for petrol-powered vehicles, and is also more lenient on diesels and flex-fuel vehicles. These regulations will apply to all new models launched on or after November 1, 2013. Vehicles launched before this date will still only be expected to meet the current Euro 4 emissions standards.

By November 1, 2016, all new cars, SUVs and light commercial vehicles sold in Australia will have to meet the “full” Euro 5 emissions regulations, regardless of when the new model is launched. These will tighten up the relaxed regulations launched in 2013 and bring all new vehicles up to the same level.

All brand new models launched from July 1, 2017 will have to meet the even more stringent Euro 6 emissions standard. Exactly one year later on July 1, 2018, all new vehicles, regardless of when the model was launched, will have to be Euro 6 compliant. There will be no softer “core” ease-in period, with the full Euro 6 standards to be introduced on those dates.

Some of the specifics of Euro 6 are still to be finalised for Australia, and will be determined closer to the official rollout.

Once fully implemented, Australia’s new emissions regulations are expected to reduce new vehicle tailpipe emissions of hydrocarbons by up to 50 percent, NOx by up to 70 percent and particulate matter by up to 90 percent.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese said that as the number of vehicles on the road increased there was a need to “remain vigilant and where possible deploy new, more effective technologies”.

“There will of course be a cost associated with this decision, particularly in the case of diesel vehicles,” Mr Albanese said in a statement. “But this is more than offset by the public health benefits and the industry has indicated its willingness to embrace the challenge.

“Importantly, we’ve listened to the manufacturers and gone with an implementation timeframe which strikes the right balance between minimising the cost to consumers while maximising the public health benefits.”

The European Union is well ahead of Australia in terms of the introduction of these emissions standards, and Canada, Japan, South Korea and the US already have similar regulations in place.




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