Vehicle safety & the environment
The Department is responsible for managing policy and standards development on vehicle safety, emissions, vehicle noise and fuel consumption labelling.
The Department administers the Australian Design Rules under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and provides input on fuel quality issues, manages the environmental criteria for the fuel tax credit for heavy diesel vehicle operators and hosts and manages the Green Vehicle Guide website.
The Australian Design Rules (ADRs) are national standards for vehicle safety, anti-theft and emissions. The ADRs are generally performance based and cover issues such as occupant protection, structures, lighting, noise, engine exhaust emissions, braking and a range of miscellaneous items.
ADRs and the Environment
Motor vehicles are a significant contributor to urban air pollution and noise that can impact on the quality of life in our major cities.
To date, the principal measure used in Australia for reducing vehicle emissions and noise has been the through the introduction of tighter standards for new vehicles through the Australian Design Rules (ADRs).
These ADRs are made under Section 7 of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and set the standards that each vehicle model is required to meet, prior to their first supply to the market. The full text of all ADRs is available on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments, and this site can be accessed from the numerical ADR list. The current ADRs addressing emissions, noise and fuel consumption labelling are:
- ADR30/01—Smoke Emission Control for Diesel Vehicles
- ADR79/02—Emission Control for Light Vehicles (Euro 4)
- ADR79/03—Emission Control for Light Vehicles (‘Core’ Euro 5—applicable to new model vehicles from November 2013)
- ADR79/04—Emission Control for Light Vehicles (‘Full’ Euro 5—applicable to all vehicles manufactured from November 2016)
- ADR80/03—Emission Control for Heavy Vehicles (Euro V with equivalent US and Japanese alternatives)
- ADR81/02—Fuel Consumption Labelling for Light Vehicles
- ADR83/00—External Noise
For further information see:
Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions
On 31 October 2015, the Australian Government announced a whole of government review of vehicle emissions through the establishment of a Ministerial Forum chaired by the Minister for Urban Infrastructure, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP.
The Ministerial Forum is supported by an interdepartmental working group which is examining issues to reduced vehicle emissions, including the implementation of Euro 6 noxious emissions standards, fuel quality standards, fuel efficiency measures (CO2) for light vehicles, and emission testing arrangements.
Further information such as draft Regulation Impact Statements and Discussion Papers are available on the Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions page.
The Green Vehicle Guide (GVG) website provides information about the environmental performance of new light vehicles (up to 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass) sold in Australia since mid-2004. It is updated regularly as new models come onto the market and contains detailed information to helps consumers identify the performance of individual vehicle models.
Information provided for each vehicle helps consumers compare the fuel consumption and the level of emissions of different vehicles and consequently their impact on the environment.
To ensure that the GVG website remains a relevant source of information for Australian consumers, the Department launched a new GVG website in October 2015.
Key changes to the GVG website include:
- a more modern and flexible user interface, which is better suited to mobile devices;
- an improved fuel calculator, which allows the use of different prices for different fuel types and changes to the proportion of driving in urban and highway conditions;
- the ability to search older vehicle models that are no longer sold as new from the front page; and
- a more objective approach to comparing vehicles, which are now ranked by tailpipe CO2 emissions, while still providing key emissions data. This replaces the previous star rating system, which was last updated in 2006.
Fuel Tax Credit For Heavy Diesel Vehicles: Guidelines for Environmental Criteria
Under the fuel tax credit arrangements that applied from 1 July 2006, businesses wishing to seek a fuel tax credit for the use of diesel fuel in a heavy road vehicle must satisfy one of four environmental performance criteria to be eligible for the credit.
As vehicle emissions control technology becomes more sophisticated, the quality of the fuels is critical. The Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 managed by the Department of the Environment provides the capacity for the Australian Government to set limits on those fuel parameters which impact on environmental/health objectives, vehicle technology and vehicle operation. The standards in place for petrol, diesel, LPG and biodiesel address fuel properties that are considered important in facilitating the adoption of emerging vehicle engine and emission control technologies, and in managing ambient levels of pollutants identified as posing health and environmental problems.