Aussie battlers missing out on car savings
29th September 2022: Aussie battlers missing out on car savings
Today, the reinstatement of the full fuel excise will see the vast majority of drivers hit hard at the petrol pump, because of Australia’s decade-long delay on electric vehicle (EV) policy, says clean transport advocacy group Solar Citizens. This comes on the rescheduled World EV Day, and a day after the government opened a consultation on their upcoming National EV Strategy.
“When the cost of living is increasing, wage growth is stagnating, and now the fuel excise is back in full effect, more and more people will be looking to a second hand car market rather than new cars. But many of these second hand cars are still inefficient gas guzzlers,” says Clean Transport Campaigner Ajaya Haikerwal.
Haikerwal created Solar Citizens’ popular EV Savings Calculator, which demonstrates the disparity between fueling a petrol car at today’s costs with the far cheaper charging costs of an EV from grid energy or home solar.
“The results are shocking – petrol cars are up to 45 times more expensive to fuel than EVs charged purely on home solar. At a time when most people are paying between $60 and $160 a week on petrol, this might leave some feeling betrayed by the government.
“People on lower incomes spend a greater proportion of their income on vehicle costs, meaning that they have the most to benefit from EVs which we have proved are cheaper to fuel and have negligible maintenance costs.
“But the lack of supply in Australia means we aren't getting enough affordable or second hand EVs, so most people are locked out of the savings an EV allows. There are 26 models available under $60,000 in the United Kingdom, but only 8 here. That's just not fair, and we reckon it’s un-Australian.
“We need policies that will see Australians from all walks of life brought along in the EV transition, to alleviate transport cost stress for households. This starts with implementing a globally competitive Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Standard – a key feature of yesterday’s National EV Strategy discussion paper.
Solar Citizens says that a strong Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Standard, free of loopholes, incentivises manufacturers to bring a range of affordable EVs to the country and stimulates a robust second hand EV market, increasing consumer choice for all Australians.
“Australia’s flatlining progress on EVs is a legacy of the last federal government, who vilified EVs, saying they would end the weekend. But nothing destroys the weekend more than having to take a second job to cover rising fuel costs,” said Haikerwal.
Rachael Hansen works in the tourism industry in Victoria, which was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since fuel prices started skyrocketing earlier this year, she has had to carefully monitor her spending, and limiting how far she travelled.
“I had to be really conscious of not using my vehicle and spending money on fuel: my car went from $55 a tank to $110 a tank. I need to drive to get to work, that's my necessity,” said Hansen.
Rachael painted the stark reality of the trade offs that Australians are having to make day-to-day, such as paying for the fuel to make long trips to see friends living further afield.
“I’ve got two really close friends that live on the Mornington Peninsula – it pretty much costs me a tank of fuel to get me there and back,” she said.
“So I waited until I did alright in tips at work, and decided that’s what I’d spend my tip money on that week – petrol. That’s a bit sad, because normally it’s coffee money or drinks money, but now it’s going back into the household. It’s money I have to rely on to pay for things.”
Rachael seemed nervous with the fuel excise coming back in full effect today – the high costs she had been paying for petrol included the discount. Faced with the prospect of buying an affordable EV in the future, Rachael thought this would be ideal and would work for her lifestyle.
“Currently I’m only driving 40 mins to an hour each way, so I guess I could charge it at home or at work. If it was something that was affordable I would definitely change to an EV.”
When Rachael tried out the Solar Citizens EV Savings Calculator, she was blown away by the differences in cost.
“Damn that’s a lot of money! When can I buy an electric car?” she quipped.
Media Contact: Ajaya Haikerwal (0400 723 324)