“Clear and consistent direction from governments is a critical signal to carmakers who will respond by doing what they do best – and that is, bring the latest, safest and most fuel-efficient vehicles to customers,” Mr Weber told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
“To support this emissions reduction challenge, we would be pleased if the federal government adopted our industry target as a part of the ambition to reduce emissions in the transport sector.”
New data released on Thursday has revealed the industry over-achieved on its passenger cars and light SUVs target, reaching 150 grams of carbon dioxide for every kilometre travelled against a target of 154 grams CO2/km. But it fell short on heavy SUVs and light commercial vehicles, reaching 218 gCO2/km against a target of 197.
The organisation will release a breakdown of the figures from individual car makers and models next month to ensure they all remain accountable.
Mr Weber said the pathway to the new target would not be without impediment and it was fully expected that individual manufacturers may not always record annual improvement. He said the end goal of meeting the 2030 target was the key focus.
“Any expectation that emissions will decline rapidly over one or two years is unrealistic,” Mr Weber said. “We are at the very start of this journey and the industry will push hard on the rate of CO2 reduction.”
The Morrison government has ignored past calls to adopt mandatory fuel-efficiency standards for road passenger vehicles, arguing during the 2019 election campaign it would increase the cost of vehicles for consumers. Australia is the only OECD country without such standards.
The government is developing a strategy to support consumer choice for future fuel technologies, including more efficient internal combustion engines, hydrogen fuel cell cars, hybrids and electric vehicles.
A spokesman for Energy and Emissions Reductions Minister Angus Taylor said the government welcomed an industry-led approach that improved information available to consumers, helping them to make informed choices in the uptake of new technologies.
“New vehicle technologies can reduce the environmental and health impacts of road vehicle emissions,” he said.
“But their uptake must be driven by consumer demand, not regulation that restricts consumer choice.”
Rob Harris is the National Affairs Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra