Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Interfering too much with SUV's a road to electoral disaster

Years ago when I was doing a job or two for the Australian Automobile Association I had my then pollster colleague Rod Cameron study what Australians thought about their motor cars. One thing that became starkly clear to me from that research was that governments who interfered too much with a freedom to drive what they wanted, where they wanted and when they wanted would have motorists changing their votes in droves.
Hence my belief that this story from the Australian Financial Review today is potentially the biggest problem Malcolm Turnbull (if he's still there) and his team will face at the next election.
Australia's most popular cars face the carbon axe
Australians' love affair with SUVs, four-wheel drives and heavy utes could become history, with the government considering hardline carbon-emission rules so tough even today's Toyota Prius buyers would be penalised.
Under standards slammed by car sellers as "unrealistic and ill-considered", the government plans to dramatically increase within eight years the cost of selling high-CO2 emitting petrol vehicles to help Australia meet its Paris climate change commitments.
Almost every one of today's 10 most popular models – starting with the Toyota Hilux, Corolla, Hyundai i30 and Ford Ranger – would fall well afoul of the rules, which aim to slash the average national fleet emissions to the equivalent of 105gCO2/km from around 335gCO2/km in 2015.

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