Australia well behind in vehicle emissions regulations

The quiet introduction of new emissions regulations for heavy transport at the start of this year has sparked our interest in emissions regulations for Australian vehicles. Australian Design Rule (ADR) 80/02 came into force on 01 Jan 2007. ADR 80/02 tightens emissions from new diesel engines in transport vehicles over 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass and we almost missed its introduction completely. In the current environmentally aware climate you would have expected the Federal Government to publicise its introduction and ramble on about how serious it was about reducing emissions. That fact that no such publicity was evident has caused us to question why.

After some digging around the Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTARS) web site, the Attorney General’s Department web site, the EurActiv web site and the DieselNet web site we think we’ve come up with the answer. The ADRs appear to copy an equivalent Euro standard so for ease of comparison we’ll use the Euro emissions standards and leave the ADRs out of it. The following table shows the introduction dates for each Euro standard in Australia and Europe.

Euro emissions implementation dates

As you can see Australia is well behind Europe in its efforts to curb vehicle emissions. This no doubt has to do with the lower quality of Australian fuels when compared to Europe and our Government’s willingness to protect big business at the expense of the environment.

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