The Motor Trade Association is calling for a plan to monitor the emissions of current vehicles on the road as part of the government’s climate change plan.
MTA chief executive Craig Pomare says the association supports the climate change goals, but it is disappointed the Climate Change Commission does not specifically address the existing fleet or the removal of old polluting vehicles.
MTA is concerned that unless a co-ordinated whole-of-life approach is taken to reducing transport emissions, from import through in-service to end of life, the government’s Road to Zero Vision where no one is killed or seriously injured in road crashes, is at risk.
“We need to address climate change and the safety of New Zealanders on the road, and we need to implement initiatives at every stage in the life of a vehicle,” says Craig.
“The logic is simple - import the best available technologies, keep the current fleet clean and get the vehicles that are at the end of their life out of the fleet.”
If done properly, emissions can be reduced while keeping New Zealanders, especially those who depend on their cars but can’t afford an EV and or have alternative transport options, safe on the road, says Craig.
MTA estimates the cost of imported vehicles will be around 22 per cent more in 2030 and EVs will remain at a premium.
“EVs will simply be out of reach for many New Zealanders,” claims Craig, “and as a result they will be obliged to keep their already aging cars longer and face a greater risk of involvement in fatal crashes.”
MTA’s review of NZTA data shows that more than 50 per cent of vehicles over 15 years old fail their Warrant of Fitness. In the past 10 years the average age of a vehicle involved in a fatal crash with a contributing vehicle factor was around 13 years old.
“If we want to refresh the fleet and keep moving emissions lower, then we need to look at the existing fleet and make room for those newer, cleaner cars by removing the cars that are currently causing the problem,” says Craig.
At an average of 14 years old, New Zealand’s vehicle fleet is old relative to most OECD countries.
The dominance of used imports has reduced the cost of vehicle ownership for low-income households.