Australia's energy minister says people should be able to buy electric cars on their own whim instead of being forced to fork out more for fuel-efficient vehicles.
Angus Taylor says modelling shows most cars would cost more under Labor’s plan to put carbon pollution standards on vehicles because the most popular cars wouldn’t meet them.
Mr Taylor says the Morrison government’s own electric vehicle plan would not impose mandatory emissions standards, and that the coalition supports a take-up of electric cars led by consumer demand.
Mr Taylor said bumping up the price on cars producing more emissions is the only way to get people to buy cars that discharge less, and pointed to a 2016 Centre of International Economics report which found cars could cost up to $4,863 more to meet a 105g/km target.
“Labor has been clear that manufacturers and dealers will need to meet those vehicle emissions standards,” Mr Taylor said in Brisbane on Monday.
“The only way they’re going to be able to do that is to raise the price of higher-emitting vehicles in order to encourage people, to force people to buy lower-emitting vehicles.”
His remarks come after pictures of an electric vehicle branded with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s face and electorate details surfaced online.
Labor wants 50 per cent of all new cars sold in Australia to be electric-powered by 2030.
Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten says the coalition’s response to its plan is a scare campaign.
“On one hand they say that electric vehicles are a bad idea,” he said.
“Now they’re saying that there’s a plan to exempt the rich.
“This is a Government who wants to deny the car-buying public of Australia choice, competition and lower prices for cars.”
Australia is one of the few countries in the developed world without carbon emissions standards for cars, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ruled out matching Labor’s pitch to introduce them.
The government has however invested in new public charging infrastructure to support the cars.
Boosting the efficiency of cars could more drastically cut emissions pollution and save motorists hundreds of dollars a year on fuel, the Climate Change Authority says.
But Mr Morrison says families who rely on a bigger car or trade workers who use utes will be denied a choice under Labor, a claim Mr Shorten has dismissed as false.