The Australian Greens today welcomed the government's first steps in the broad community consultation on vehicle fuel efficiency standards agreed as part of the Clean Energy Future package.
Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said "As climate change and peak oil begin to bite, it's vitally important for governments to help the community both use their cars less and drive the most efficient cars possible.
"Petrol guzzling cars not only pollute the air but also put a big drain on household budgets, a drain that will only get bigger as oil prices inevitably continue to rise.
"Given the weakness of the government's previously planned fuel efficiency standards, the Greens were keen to ensure broad community consultation took place before new standards are announced by the end of the year. This was agreed as part of the Clean Energy Future package, and the first step, with the release of a discussion paper, is welcome.
"Unfortunately, the various options set out in the discussion paper are all disappointingly unambitious. I very much hope that the community consultation does lead to the government lifting its sights.
"This is one obvious area where we should be following China's ambitious lead, with their target of a massive 1 million electric cars by 2015 driving a tremendous expansion in their market and manufacturing. Europe is already dominating the highly efficient luxury car market.
"It is evident that there will only be a car manufacturing industry in countries which move towards the most efficient cars possible.
"Australia needs to ride this wave or be left way behind, losing jobs and competitiveness."