The Motor Trade Association (MTA) supports the New Zealand Government’s steps to clean up the country’s air.
The Motor Trade Association (MTA) supports the New Zealand Government’s steps to clean up the country’s air, through the amendment of the 2007 Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule announced by Associate Minister of Transport Simon Bridges yesterday.
The amended rule lifts standards for new vehicles from 1 November 2013, mirroring those agreed in Australia (which will be adopting Euro 5, the current European standard). The amended rule also introduces more recent standards from the US and Japan, as alternative standards. The current standards for used vehicles are due to expire at the end of this year. The amendment also extends these. Improved standards for used vehicles have already been introduced – in early 2012 for petrol vehicles and in 2010 for diesel vehicles. These will be reviewed again in 2014.
Reducing air pollution, and the deaths caused because of it, while committing to the best standards in the world is a solid move for environmental and economic sustainability, MTA Marketing and Communications General Manager Ian Stronach says. While the amendments are undoubtedly welcome and have been anticipated by industry for some time, they provide more certainty about the emissions standards that vehicles entering the fleet for the first time need to meet.
Significantly, Simon Bridges also said in yesterday’s announcement: “In addition, and in response to comments made in submissions [in regard to Vehicle Licensing Reform], I have asked my officials to look at what we can do in the lead up to the 2014 review to reduce emissions from vehicles already on our roads.”
Yesterday’s amendments focus on vehicles entering the fleet – new vehicles and first time used imports. However, Bridges’ recognition of the impact that in-service emissions testing of the 2.9 million light vehicles already on our roads could have on health and economic outcomes is a positive move.
“MTA has been calling for in-service vehicle emissions testing for years, and it’s good to see Government looking at an approach common in many other countries,” Stronach says.
Vehicles burning fuel more efficiently produce fewer emissions; they waste less fuel and provide savings both for individual owners and New Zealand as a whole. Depending on the type and frequency of testing, MTA estimates show in-service emissions testing of petrol powered light vehicles alone (the largest group in the fleet) could potentially reduce fuel costs to owners by $212 million per annum. The estimated overall cost of doing this work (testing and remedial work) is estimated at $84 million per annum, meaning a saving of $128 million.
It’s not just about saving money, however – this would save lives. A report (Updated Health and Air Pollution in New Zealand Study) into the effects of air pollution, released in March 2012 showed that air pollution from road-going motor vehicles is responsible for around 255 premature deaths amongst New Zealanders each year. Prepared for the Health Research Council, Ministry of Transport, Ministry for the Environment and the NZ Transport Agency, the report put the total social costs of air pollution at around $940 million a year.
MTA hopes to work with Government officials in the coming months to further consider in-service emissions testing as a means to reduce emissions from the existing fleet. “The introduction of in-service emissions testing would provide New Zealand with a range of meaningful benefits. It will save lives, reduce costs for motorists and help substantiate New Zealand’s positioning on the world stage as a clean and green destination.”