The end of the fuel excise discount on October 1 signals an immediate need for the re-examination of car ownership and petrol vehicles. With prices set to increase significantly, in line with those seen prior to the excise discount, many are concerned at the rising costs of living.
Despite this, the Albanese government’s reintroduction of the full excise presents Australians with an opportunity to reassess private vehicle ownership and its cost economically and environmentally.
Car ownership as a concept
Traditional car ownership is undergoing radical transformation at present, with mobility solutions and community e-vehicle startups disrupting the car market. Consumers are slowly turning to EVs and ownership models which save on maintenance, petrol and insurance costs whilst also reducing emissions. However, the transition is not fast enough.
Despite the fallout of the Ukraine war surrounding fuel supplies and prices, the use of petrol cars remains the dominant choice for consumers. ABS data shows that Australia has over 20M registered vehicles on the road, with over 92 percent of households owning a car.
Petrol vehicles were the largest group by fuel type, representing over 71 percent of vehicles, and electric vehicles accounted for just 1.57 percent. Furthermore, an 2021 analysis of car ownership by insight’s agency ID, has revealed that 53 percent of households in Australia have access to two or more motor vehicles. However, most of these vehicles typically sit idle for 95 percent of the day and cost the average Australian family $22,000 per year.
And it isn’t just the economy which is impacted by car ownership, car pollution is one of the major causes of global warming, with the oil and gas industry representing 45% of anthropogenic GHG emissions. With the cost of living increasing, climate change worsening and petrol costs rising, why are we stuck on a model which is detrimental to the planet and our finances?
The future of shared e-mobility
Petrol cars and household ownership cannot remain with the climate and global economic market as they are. In fact, the Electric Vehicle Council recently announced that Australia should follow suit with the UK and EU by banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2035. Though this has been labelled extreme, widespread disruption to the petrol car market is not a question of ‘if’, but when.
As urban environmental planners and developers move to greener and more sustainable models, greater options are arising surrounding car ownership. Businesses, such as ours, are pushing for more residential and commercial buildings to provide electric vehicles, scooters and bikes on demand, and for the concept of car ownership to change altogether.
Mobility solutions and startups which provide electric vehicles on demand are, undoubtedly, the way of the future. However, innovation in this space needs greater support from businesses, governments and consumers. Likewise, regional communities must not be forgotten in the move towards e-mobility.
The excise discount ending in October signals the urgent need for petrol car ownership to end, in order for our cities and regions to exist in a more sustainable and economically viable way.