Unlike all of the first world trucking industries, Australia has no prospect of seeing government cutting carbon in trucking. In fact, the Australian Federal Government has delayed the introduction of ADR 80/04 to the point where it is about to become irrelevant.
Surprisingly, the federal election has seen the spectre of reducing carbon emissions getting a run, but there is no mention of introducing carbon emission reduction legislation for vehicles, including for trucks.
Elsewhere in the world, in the countries to which we like to compare ourselves, the Euro 6 levels of exhaust emissions have been in place for some time. Our version of these rules, ADR 80/04, was originally delayed in the lead up to the 2013 election, when a regulatory impact statement was due for release.
Since that time the new rules have moved from being on the back boiler to sitting elsewhere cooling down and remaining seemingly forgotten by everyone except the Truck Industry Council, who continue to campaign for its swift introduction.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world has moved on. The USA, Europe and Japan lead the way, but China and India are moving in the same direction, in changing the emphasis on noxious elements like NOx and particulates to the reduction in carbon emissions overall from a vehicle.
This is not part of action to reduce carbon emissions overall, using mechanisms like carbon trading or carbon tax. This is embracing the principle that carbon emissions need to reduce and the rules on truck exhaust emissions would reduce global warming.
Here in Australia, we can’t even get the politicians to agree on the need to reduce carbon, let alone a mechanism to make it happen. At the same time we are also lagging behind the rest of the world in exhaust emissions rules.
If we are not careful, we could be two stages behind the rest of the first world, in terms of truck exhaust regulation. This is a position which fails to tie in with the image our country works hard to create, of a modern go-ahead, responsible first world nation.
Fortunately, the trucking industry is moving ahead, despite our pollies and their bickering. Scania reports 90 per cent of its truck sales in Australia are compliant with Euro 6 and many other manufacturers will be reporting similar numbers or trends which see the market moving the right way, in terms of exhaust emissions.
We now have corporate Australia being the adult in the room and the governments of any colour unable to bring through effective legislation. Perhaps we will soon start to see carbon emission reduction being driven by trucking’s customers rather than Canberra. It wouldn’t be a bad outcome for trucking, as reducing carbon emissions, also means reducing fuel costs.