ATA slams CSIRO report

The CSIRO should focus on researching new transport and fuel technologies rather than issuing reports about economic policy options, says the Australian Trucking Association’s Chairman of the Australian Trucking Associations chairman Trevor Martyn.

Martyn was responding to a CSIRO report that he says looks at scrapping all trucks once they are 15 years old and increasing fuel tax to 210 cents per litre.

the report, Fuel for thought — the future of transport fuels: challenges and opportunities, has just been released by the CSIRO Future Fuels Forum.

According to the ATA, the report looks at the effect of four policies on greenhouse gas emissions and the cost of transport: –

  • scrapping all road vehicles, including trucks, that are 15 years and older;
  • increasing the rate of fuel excise from 38 cents per litre to 210 cents litre by 2050; –
  • mandatory improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency; and –
  • a $2000 subsidy for low emission and alternative fuel vehicles.

“These policies would rip the heart out of the trucking industry, and it would all be for nothing,” Trevor Martyn says.

“They would actually make it harder and more difficult for Australia to achieve its greenhouse targets.”

“The problem with the report is that it looks at the transport sector in isolation and not at Australia’s economy as a whole.

“The best way that Australia can achieve its greenhouse objectives is through an emissions trading system that covers as much of the economy as possible, including transport,” he says.

“The emissions trading system would increase the price of fuel. Individual trucking operators and their customers would then be able to make their own decisions about how to deal with the increased price.”

“Some of our customers may decide to reduce their transport costs by consolidating their deliveries or even switching to other modes of transport.”

“Others may decide that it’s still cost effective to use road transport, pay the higher transport costs, and sell fewer products at a higher price.”

“Their transport-related greenhouse gas emissions would stay the same — but their other emissions, such as the emissions from making their products, would fall.”

“The policies in the report would make it too expensive for companies to make this sort of decision, even if it was the best one for their business and for the economy as a whole,” Martin says.

“It would, in fact, make it more difficult and expensive for Australia to reach its greenhouse reduction targets.”

“Instead of sponsoring reports about the future price of oil and possible policy options, the CSIRO should be devoting its resources to real scientific research — including scientific research into alternative fuel and transport technologies,” Martyn says.

“Canberra is full of organisations that can model policy options. There’s only one CSIRO, and it should be concentrating on the work it does best.”

According to Martyn, the report also warns that petrol and diesel could cost $8 per litre by 2018, if world oil peaks and then collapses.

It predicts there will be a steady shift toward low emission fuels and vehicles with the use of electricity and natural gas expanding first.

In the longer term (beyond 2020), advanced Biofuels that do not compete with food production and synthetic fuels produced from gas and coal with carbon capture and storage are expected to come into use.

View the full CSIRO report

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