Press release

Cuts in average real-world emissions are stalled for Australia’s light-duty fleet, while other major markets drive towards zero

Transformative vehicle emissions standards needed to bring Australia in line with other major markets

(Australia) 20 February 2024 — A new briefing from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and Transport Emission/Energy Research (TER) exposes a notable disparity in average emissions from the light-duty fleet in Australia compared to other major markets. Furthermore, there is a yawning gap between Australia’s current testing protocol, known as the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) and the actual on-road emissions, that is putting Australia at a significant disadvantage.

The gap between Australia and other major markets, including China, Japan, the EU, and the US, indicates that the existing voluntary emissions reduction targets have not effectively reduced GHG emissions among the Australian fleet. Based on these conclusions, the ICCT and TER recommend urgent adoption and effective design of the Australian Government’s recently proposed New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES) or CO2 emission standards for Australian light-duty vehicles.

“The recent government proposal in February, specifically Options B and C, aims to align with the U.S. proposed LDV CO2 standards, showcasing a commitment to catch up with global benchmarks,” said Zifei Yang who leads passenger vehicle research at the ICCT. “And adopting the NVES could be critical to achieving Australia’s economy-wide net-zero emissions target for 2050.”

ICCT and TER’s collaborative research emphasizes the critical need for Australia to adopt the state-of-the-art type-approval test cycle, WLTP, and also to incorporate onboard fuel consumption monitoring (OBFCM) to ensure the efficacy of the standards. Implementing ambitious and properly designed fuel efficiency standards is deemed essential to bridge the widening gap between Australia and major international markets.

“It has taken Australia a long time to get to this point – and in the meantime, our analysis shows that the gap between officially reported and real-world CO2 emissions has been widening for new passenger and light commercial vehicles,” explained Robin Smit, Director and Principal Research Consultant at TER. “A mandatory fuel-efficiency standard can help close the performance gap between Australia and the rest of the world, if properly designed. So we’d better make sure it works.”


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Media contact
Kelli Pennington,
Robin Smit,

Publication details
Title:  How do Australian light-duty vehicle CO2 emissions really compare to the rest of the world?
Authors:  Robin Smit (Transport Energy/Emission research), Tanzila Khan, Zifei Yang
Publication link:

About the International Council on Clean Transportation
The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) is an independent research organization providing first-rate, unbiased research and technical and scientific analysis to environmental regulators. Our mission is to improve the environmental performance and energy efficiency of road, marine, and air transportation, in order to benefit public health and mitigate climate change. Founded in 2001, we are a nonprofit organization working under grants and contracts from private foundations and public institutions.

About Transport Energy/Emission Research (TER)
Transport Energy/Emission Research (TER) was founded in 2019 and is an Australia-based and independent research consultancy that supports government and the transport sector in the transition to smart, clean, zero emissions transport. TER provides high quality expert advice, in-depth data analysis and customised tools to quantify fuel consumption, energy use and emissions from the transport sector (road, rail, air and sea).

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