ACT plans to phase out petrol and diesel cars in aims to go green

australian flag flying at parliament house in canberra ACT where decision has been made to only sell EV green cars from 2035

Following on from EU proposals to phase out new petrol and diesel powered vehicles by 2035, the ACT has announced plans to do the same. 

Shifting the timeline a little to accommodate for Australia’s much lower proportion of electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales, the plan for the ACT is to begin enforcing this in 2035.

With transport accounting for 63.5% of the ACT’s emissions in 2019, it’s clear that they’re serious about reaching net zero. Nearly 6% of new vehicles purchased in the ACT in 2021 were electric, which is well above the national 2% average. It’s still a long way off Norway’s 72%, but it’s clear that EVs have been embraced in the capital territory.

The Electric Vehicle Council’s latest State of Electric Vehicles report highlights the ACT as the only state or territory which had incentives in place for zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) through the entire year, and credits this with its higher rates of new EVs. 

It is important to note that holding back attempts to increase the share of green cars on the road are the continued issues with new car supply in Australia, alongside a lack of options. The UK, who plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, currently have 40 PHEVs and 39 BEVs on the market, compared to Australia’s limited 30 PHEVs and 39 BEVs.

Zooming toward more ZEVs? 

Australia is making great strides in updating their infrastructure and incentivising ZEVs. The ACT government is actively concerned with informing people about the benefits of switching to a ZEV, including the many incentives on offer.

For an EV, the ACT offers two years free registration (QLD and Victoria offer an annual discount on rego, as does the NT up to five years). First time ZEV buyers in the ACT may not need to pay stamp duty on their car (this has been phased out for green cars in NSW, while VIC, QLD, Tas and SA all have specific policies to reduce stamp duty on EVs). Eligible homeowners in the ACT can also use the Sustainable Household Scheme to get an interest-free loan that can be used on ZEVs.

When estimating the total amount earned back with government incentives on a $50,000 mid-size EV, relative to a similar petrol-powered car, the ACT is the best performing state in Australia at roughly $5,840.

StateApprox. amount in subsidies earned on an EV
ACT$5,840
NSW$4,500
QLD$3,864
SA$3,000
NT$2,465
TAS$2,000
VIC$1,950
WA$0

While goals to phase out new petrol and diesel cars might seem lofty with the low ZEV uptake, the growing incentives and infrastructure are positive indicators. When supply chain issues balance and Australia has access to cars to satisfy growing green demand, we may start to see Aussie figures catch up to global averages.

Making this even more accessible are the increasing numbers of green car loans on the market. Created to incentivise EVs over other cars, green car loans often have lower interest rates when you purchase electric cars. Making ZEVs more accessible plays a key role in adding to their widespread uptake.

With Australia’s reputation as a future-forward, pioneering nation at stake, the ACT could lead the charge to a fuel-free future.

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