20 March 2022

Budget should press accelerator on EVs as households and businesses feel petrol pain

| Ian Bushnell
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Petrol pricing

Filling up is destroying household budgets, but there is an alternative. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

It shouldn’t have taken the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent oil shock to show just how exposed Australia is to the economic mayhem that skyrocketing fuel prices can wreak.

The nation’s dependence on imported petroleum products, and the fact that we have only have three weeks’ supply before the fuel runs out if, for some reason, the tankers can’t get here, should have been preying on the minds of anyone responsible for national security.

The answer for many motorists is simple, and they would jump at it if the up-front costs weren’t so prohibitive.

Those who can afford it or are punting the plunge will be worth it are going electric.

Electric Vehicle Council figures in January showed sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in 2021 tripled to about 2 per cent of all cars purchased compared to 2020.

Hybrids have also become more popular in the last year, with conventional models (HEVs) making up 7 per cent of all new cars, SUVs, utes and vans bought in Australia in 2021 — an increase of 20.3 per cent on 2020.

It seems light years since the last federal election when Scott Morrison mocked Labor’s EV plan as wanting to destroy the weekend.

Since then, the government has decided to support the building of charging infrastructure but little else, although that might be about to change.

READ ALSO Red Hill intersection typical of unsafe streets for schoolchildren, campaigner says

Last week it announced a $243 million package to develop a rare earth minerals industry in Australia. Apparently, we’ve got lots of the stuff, which are used in electric cars and renewable energy technology.

But the market is dominated by China, so there is an imperative in these fractious times to develop our own mining and refining industries that might also lead to new manufacturing, including batteries.

As incomes are eroded as motorists pay $2-plus a litre for fuel, and the extra costs cascade through the supply chains to drive inflation to levels that mean the cost of money is also going to rise, the government is pitching special one-off payments in Tuesday week’s budget to ease the pain.

It should also accept the ground has shifted on EVs and do all it can to hasten their adoption.

From a national security perspective, and that’s supposed to be the Coalition’s strength, the less exposed we are to the market and supply vagaries of oil, the better.

Not to mention the risks that global warming presents and is already visiting on Australia.

The switch to electric for passenger vehicles and green hydrogen for freight transport would slash emissions and mean cleaner air in our cities – and more money in drivers’ pockets.

READ ALSO Australia must do what it can to help Ukraine

The states and territories – and the ACT is the most generous – have a range of rebates and incentives for buying EVs, but the Federal Government, which really has been a laggard, can make the difference.

A package of tax incentives, converting the government car fleet to feed the second-hand market, removing the 5 per cent import tariff on some EVs, and introducing a fuel efficiency standard to encourage car makers to bring more models to Australia would all make sense.

Mr Morrison said three years ago he wanted drivers to have choice, but with Australians burning money every time they fill up, many have made up their minds.

They just need to see a greater range of EVs, more competition, and that initial price barrier to fall.

But under the government’s current approach, that transition will be too slow.

Now is the time for it to press the accelerator on EVs and the industries that will support them and not waste more time.

This time it would be a vote winner.

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Capital Retro12:07 pm 24 Mar 22

John Hunter, if you insist that “the current government is owned by the fossil fuel industry, and backed up by Murdoch”, can you produce documentary proof of this?

Brilliant self-satire, Capital Retro. 🙂
Although I am still not sure it will get you that scriptwriting job…

Capital Retro4:38 pm 24 Mar 22

Funny how you attack my comment but not the original one.

I accept that you only following instructions so no problem.

Capital Retro,
I agree with you.

Those who make unsubstantiated claims or cherry pick information that supports their pre determined views, need to be held to account. Their contributions are unhelpful and do not progress reasoned debate on the site.

Well said, hopefully we see more of this new, evidence based CR.

If someone is looking for a new car and have $60k plus for decent range, then EVs for them. Tax by kilometre driven to make up the difference they would have paid for excise at the bowser

Capital Retro9:45 pm 21 Mar 22

This report was released before the current Ukraine problem so what is projected will never happen in reality:


Great article, thanks CR.

Just shows how the transition to EVs will accelerate in coming years as ICE vehicles are retired. And how home based charging infrastructure will be installed in the next 10-20 years to cover the bulk of recharging requirements.

Capital Retro7:11 am 23 Mar 22

Your dreamin’, chewy.

Capital Retro9:26 pm 21 Mar 22

More “disinformation” : https://youtu.be/nsBgDXHVorE

This short video gives something to think about…
The video shows an electric car at a charging station in Germany
What you see in this video is an electric car with a shorted cell at a charging station setting off all the rest. It’s a chain reaction from the first to the fiery end.
The reason why some underground car parks in Germany don’t allow electric powered vehicles onto their premises. Note the time it took to destroy 3 cars: 1.15 minutes. The first vehicle was destroyed in about 38 seconds.
The fire cannot be extinguished with water. No fire department will approach a burning battery-powered car because of the toxic gases produced during the fire.
Do you want one of these in your garage at home?
So you sleep on the second floor. Where do the toxic gases go?
No recycling place will take the car’s remains because of the toxic chemicals the batteries contain.
Can you get the darn thing insured?

Maybe we should slow down our rush to replace existing sources of transportation until we find a safe, sustainable power source.

CR wrote, correctly on this occasion, “More ‘disinformation'”. Yes, it was.
The video is not in Germany, as CR claims, but in Guangdong, China, as the China People’s Daily, immediate source of the video, says explicitly. It is dated two years ago. You can see those things simply by clicking the link provided by CR, apparently more than CR managed to do.
AAP offers some comments on it:
in which they err by saying the truck burned. It did not, but accelerated remarkably quickly backwards although I did not notice the driver.
The AAP article also corrects information about vehicle bans, which started after ICE fires showed fire risk in those locations (difficult access). As we have covered previously, ICE fires are far more prevalent than EV fires and all vehicles emit toxic fumes when burning.
Of course you can insure them. Why do you offer this unfiltered rubbish, Capital Retro?

Correction, the truck does burn after going back. AAP was correct about that.

Capital Retro6:02 pm 22 Mar 22

To give you something to rant about when chewy14 has his day off.

Capital Retro,
I’ve already debunked the exact claims you’ve made here multiple times with links as Phydeaux has done again.

But yet here you are again posting the exact same things again because you are unable to process new information that might affect your predetermined position.

At least you headlined your comment here as misinformation, which is nice.

I think the moderators should make it a permanent addition.

Noted this morning report of an ICE fire destroying a training workshop near Hobart, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-22/guilford-young-college-workshop-fire-investigation/100930502
If you compare that video with Capital Retro’s one from the China People’s Daily (interesting sources CR prefers) then you will see that the latter has been sped up by a factor of about 6x, presumably for dramatic effect, or increased mis-informative impact. You can verify this for yourself by comparing video run time of the first camera angle, 40 seconds, with corresponding time stamps on the video showing a difference of about four minutes. Real information is not hard to find, if you are willing to consider it.

Capital Retro2:01 pm 23 Mar 22

So much for your attempts to “throw water on the fire”:


Yes Phydeaux,
These ICE vehicles just seem to explode into fireballs at random.

Very dangerous, no wonder they are being phased out.

I mean like at this fire today in Cairns.


Or this fire at a petrol station from Monday, they were lucky the whole place didn’t explode into a deadly fireball. Imagine the casualties.


Oh dear. Facts included in the following article regarding fire frequency, controllability, and false data presentation have been told to you before, Capital Retro.
As it says, “ It seems that is not just the public who have a low level of understanding when it comes to EVs”

3 weeks of fuel supplies isn’t anything new and while adopting EVs could assist with fuel security, to make any real difference to our national fuel security, we’d need a large percentage of Australians and preferably also our transport companies to shift over to some form of non-ICE.

Pro-Ev advocates seem to forget that there are supply chain delays and that most people simply don’t have the cash to buy a new EV.

(There are new cheaper Chinese brands coming onto the EV market, but do we really want to go there?)

At present, it’s only the well-heeled that are buying EVs and taking advantage of existing State Government concessions that are available and while there is a push for Federal Government to convert it’s own fleet to EVs to create a used market, hands up those who are concerned about battery life, reduced range and the cost of battery replacement.

There was an article in the last week that discussed the difficulties associated with recycling batteries. Discarded batteries will still be extremely rich in minerals, however, recovery was seen as dangerous and expensive. While recover of these minerals was seen as a goal, it was acknowledged that it was cheaper to just dig up more.

I’m not anti-EV.
I want one, but we need to be realistic about the timeframes and hurdles along the way.

Germany has agreed to cease production of ICEs and as manufacturers move away from ICEs, supply will increase, which in itself should lower prices.

It’s all very well to talk about the Federal Government should do this or do that, but ultimately, us taxpayers pay for every dollar the Government spends.

“There was an article in the last week that discussed the difficulties associated with recycling batteries”
Assuming you are referring to here recently in the Riotact, then actually there was no “article” but a copy-pasted anonymous propaganda piece which contained obvious lies about non-recyclability (relative cost issues exist but are changing), wholly ignored baselines, could not add up a few numbers, and could not even understand its one equation was the wrong one. It was a huge discredit to those who pasted it here or who liked it.
“ultimately, us taxpayers pay for every dollar the Government spends”
Wrong. See: basic economics.

Capital Retro9:17 pm 21 Mar 22

Most EVs (including Teslas) are made in China and there are no “rare earth” supply problems there.

Last week I saw several Teslas being delivered to somewhere in Fyshwick. Delicious irony here because they were being floated on one large diesel powered truck and trailer.

Indeed, welfare for the already well off of Canberra is just what is needed. We haven’t already done that enough over the last two years.

No Ian, more welfare for the wealthy to purchase a new EV would not be a vote winner, the taxpayer would be unhappy.

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