When oil reached $100 USD per barrel the other week, motorists across Australia shuddered. And they were already being gouged with summer holiday pricing. Predictions were made that $1.50 AUD per litre was imminent. [my shonky maths indicate that's about 4.95 cents (USD) a US gallon.]
The Australian Conservation Foundation hopes the shock of such pricing will jolt a change in support both for public transport and for mandatory fuel standards. Otherwise they see suburban families remaining hostage to increasing oil prices.
"With petrol nudging A$1.50 a litre, a fuel efficiency standard of 6.8L/100km would save the average Australian driver around A$1,000 on petrol each year," said the ACF's Sustainable Australia program manager Alison Cleary. She goes on to report that "China's binding standards mean cars sold in China will most likely be around 17 per cent more efficient in 2010 than the Australian average, unless we improve our standards."
By the ACF's figures, the average Aussie driver could save $1,000 a year, if they drove a car that managed a fuel efficiency standard of 6.8L/100km [34.6 miles/gallon (US)] but they observe that only one Australian manufactured car model had an efficiency of less than 10L/100km [23.5 miles/gallon(US)] in 2006, so they don't hold out much hope for voluntary agreements with the car industry as likely to bear much fruit.
For comparison the best performing, fuel efficient vehicles on Australian roads, at the moment, according to the government's own Green Vehicle Guide is the Toyota Prius at 4.4litres/100 km, Honda Civic Hybrid (4.6) and the Citroen C4 (D) with 4.5. The most fuel efficient, volume selling car in Australia seems to be Toyota's Yaris, which weighs in at 6 litres /100 km. ::Australian Conservation Foundation, via EcoMedia.