New push to lower speed limits for SUVs and utes such as Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux in Australia
A top professor has called for Australia to lower motorway speed limits for SUVs and other high-emission vehicles to combat . Australia's love for dual-cab utes, large SUVs and older vehicles is making the country one of the biggest consumers in the world, a new report by The Australia Institute found. Professor Lennard Gillman from Auckland University of Technology said one way to drastically reduce petrol consumption and carbon dioxide emissions is to drive slightly slower. He believes Australia should introduce differential speed limits for high-emission and low-emission vehicles so cars that put out more pollution are forced to drive slower to reduce their environmental impact. 'Lowering the speed limit for high emission vehicles has the double effect of cutting emissions but also incentivises people to buy low-emission cars,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 'In a vehicle like the Ford Ranger V6 you'll be expending 260g (of fuel) per kilometre. That's more than twice as much as a Toyota Corolla.' He believes Australia should introduce differential speed limits for high-emission and low-emission vehicles so cars that put out more pollution are forced to drive slower to reduce their environmental impact. 'Lowering the speed limit for high emission vehicles has the double effect of cutting emissions but also incentivises people to buy low-emission cars,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 'In a vehicle like the Ford Ranger V6 you'll be expending 260g (of fuel) per kilometre. That's more than twice as much as a Toyota Corolla.' A study by the New Zealand Transport Agency in 2017 found reducing the speed from 100km/h to 80km/h sees car use 15 per cent less fuel. Prof Gillman believes the downfalls of reducing speed limits by 10km/h, like the extra time it takes to travel, can't compare with the benefits. 'It's safer, more relaxing and makes bugger-all time difference,' he said. 'If it makes a huge difference in carbon emissions, which is destroying the planet we live on, surely we can make that sacrifice.' Prof Gillman said monetary-based climate change initiatives - like increasing the tax on fuel in the hopes people will buy new electric cars - often have little effect on high-income earners while low-income households suffer. 'The problem with fuel tax is that it will punish people on low incomes,' he said. 'People who are spending over $100,000 on a vehicle that has high emissions, they don't care about petrol tax. 'They're not going to notice the increased cost of running their vehicle. 'Lowering the speed limit for people with high-emission vehicle will be a much better incentive to buy a more efficient vehicle.' Analysis prepared by The Australia Institute found a significant share of transport emissions had been fuelled by 'poorly targeted tax incentives encouraging Australians to drive large, inefficient, dual-cab utes'. The report found Australia's transport emissions had grown by 17 per cent since 2000 while countries including the US, UK and Japan had reduced their emissions. 'Australia could make significant emissions reductions by simply driving more fuel-efficient vehicles and save billions of dollars in fuel costs,' said Matt Grudnoff, Senior Economist at the Australia Institute. Five of the top 10 best-selling vehicles in Australia were dual-cab utes, the report found, while three were SUVs, and only two were small passenger cars. The report also recommended changes to vehicle emissions tests so they meet international standards, a commitment to transition all government fleets to electric vehicles by 2030 and the introduction of a fuel efficiency standard. Prof Gillman warned that not taking small steps to reduce emissions could have disastrous effects in the future. 'Most of the pushback is from people who do have these really high-emission vehicles who feel it's their right to do whatever they like,' he said. 'We're facing a climate crisis. We're on track to be 2C warmer and a lot of scientists think once it gets to 2C it will pushover to 5C or 6C. 'At that point, much of the earth will be completely unliveable and there will be millions of people who die as a result. 'We're already seeing the effects of climate change cause fatalities with these massive storms we've seen all around the world.'