The Road Ahead : August September 2008
perspective WITH RICHARD PIETSCH RACQ PRESIDENT s fuel prices have already increased by at least 25 percent in the past year, Queenslanders will welcome the Federal Government decision to reduce the fuel excise to compensate motorists for the cost of emissions trading permits on fuel. Having taken into account the community’s overall concern about climate change, the RACQ believes that the motoring sector needs to contribute to efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, even though motoring accounts for only 8 percent of total carbon emissions. Motorists need relief A The decision to maintain the existing level of government charges on fuel is in part an acknowledgement that fuel use is ‘inelastic’, meaning the demand for fuel is relatively constant even when prices change. “ ... the motoring sector needs to contribute to efforts to reduce greenhouse gases....” GO This shows that other government policy changes are required to give motorists the options and incentives that would lead to long-term greenhouse emission reductions. RACQ’s preferred approach involves a total reform of all motoring taxes and charges to ensure that revenue from motorists is used to fund a safe and effi cient road network and public transport system in a far more direct and transparent way. People need to travel regularly and we do not all have shops and good public transport within walking distance, so the solution is to improve options and make the system more efficient. Even with the fuel excise cut, pump prices almost certainly will continue to rise, so motorists need relief from other government charges that add to the purchase price or annual fi xed costs of motoring, preferably in a way that adds incentives for more fuel-effi cient vehicles. Some options could be for owners of the most fuel-effi cient vehicles (not just hybrids) to be rewarded with zero import tariffs, lower registration fees and the removal of stamp duties. The Federal Government’s tax review provides the opportunity to ensure motorists make a real contribution to tackling climate change without being treated simply as ‘cash cows’. As motorists, we need to make responsible decisions about the vehicles we drive and how we use them. We also need sensible government policies and the best technologies from the motor industry to give us real options and incentives to reduce our fossil fuel dependence.
October November 2008
June July 2008