The Australian car industry has set its own CO2 emissions targets for 2030.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries today announced that the local car industry will impose its own emissions target scheme in light of inaction by the Federal Government.

Emissions targets are strict and enforced in Europe, the US, and other countries around the world but not in Australia. As it stands, Australian car manufacturers are only hamstrung by what engines and variants are available to import, rather than by ensuring what is offered doesn’t exceed annual fleet emissions targets.

In short, Australian manufacturers have vowed with the FCAI to reduce emissions their entire lineup of cars produce.

The self-imposed scheme sees specific benchmark targets to be met over ten years to 2030, starting from this year.

Cars and SUVs are to average less than 100g/km CO2 emissions, and 4x4s and light commercials (such as dual-cab utes) are to meet a target of 145g/km or less. To meet the targets, the average CO2 emissions will need to reduce by around 4 per cent per annum for SUVs/cars, and 3 per cent per annum for 4x4s/light commercial.

Electric vehicles, which produce no tailpipe emissions, are exempt.

The targets are higher than European targets, however, it is unrealistic to assume Australia’s particular environment and needs can meet European standards. Most Euro models are small hatchbacks with small engines confined to short trips and low speed limits in cities; Australians prefer larger cars and travel longer kays.

For this reason, the target more closely aligns to US requirements, a country which has similar taste and requirements from their vehicles.

“The FCAI Standard has been based on internationally mandated practices, including those from Europe and the USA, while still recognising the unique characteristics of the Australian market,” said FCAI chief executive, Tony Weber.

Crucially, there will be no punishment for a manufacturer that does not meet the targets, given that this is not a mandated Government scheme. But there will be industry reporting every three months from 2021 with full transparency on how manufacturers are faring.

The FCAI concedes that different brands will approach the targets in a different manner, with some better setup to meet the requirements already. Named the “FCAI CO2 Emissions Standard,” the FCAI says it brought together over 40 car brands in Australia to agree to the scheme and “contribute to Australia’s commitment to the Paris agreement.”

The targets and proposal were drafted in consultation with manufacturers, says the FCAI.

A roadblock for some brands will be that more efficient and newer engines cannot currently be offered in Australia due to the Government’s inaction to regulate fuel quality. Australia has some of the worst fuel quality in the world relative to its position as a first-world country. The poor quality of our fuel means new engines that reduce emissions by some margin could be ruined just by one fill at an Aussie bowser.

“The intent behind this new Standard is to ensure automotive manufacturers can continue to do what they do best – and that is to bring the latest, safest, and most fuel-efficient vehicles to the Australian market,” said Weber.

“The FCAI strongly supports a comprehensive approach to addressing motor vehicle emissions that includes fuel quality standards, the introduction of Euro 6 and the introduction of a challenging but realistic, achievable and market relevant CO2 standard.”

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Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax,, AMC, Just Cars, and more.


  1. “Australian manufacturers have vowed with the FCAI to reduce emissions their entire lineup of cars produce” – Ummmmm, what Australian manufacturers?

  2. Lower emissions using EV?

    No tailpipe emissions that is fact, but recharging from the electricity grid means that around 80 per cent of the electricity comes from fossil fuelled generators, power stations and other gas-diesel generators used to back up solar and wind “farms” when they are not delivering energy, which is often. Remove the $500,000 a year subsidy for every wind turbine operated and watch the retreat by investors. As they are now because the RET subsidies end in 2030 and any new “farms” will no longer be subsidised after 2030.

    It is more fuel efficient to burn liquid fossil fuel in an ICEV than to use coal and gas to fuel power station generators.

    And the concentration on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction, Paris Agreement, makes no sense. CO2 is not a pollutant, it is essential for life on Earth and makes up 410 ppm of atmosphere (0.041%) at this time, 1,500 to 2,000 ppm would be beneficial, boost food crop yields for example. In US (and other) Submarines CO2 in vessel atmosphere regularly reaches around 8,000 ppm with no harm done to crews. Carbon (C) is not Carbon Dioxide (CO2), yet the politicians talk about CO2 emissions reduction as the primary target?

    By the way, I am supportive of reducing vehicle emissions for public health purposes, emphasis on suburban areas. That is why the old dirty power stations were demolished 1970s and replaced with far cleaner burning power stations built outside of suburban areas.

  3. Very good news. Thanks for taking this groundbreaking approach.

    Of course, EVs produce less CO2 than petrol cars. Net-zero CO2 requires a large prolongation of the electric car rapid.

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