Millions of Australians will save hundreds of dollars in registration fees every year due to a redesigned scheme to encourage the adoption of low-emission vehicles.
The scheme will be introduced in the ACT in July, with hybrid cars also becoming cheaper to register.
NSW drivers are also being given the change to save, due to a similar scheme introduced in January.
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Those in NSW will have the option to buy carbon credits to offset their car’s yearly emissions when paying their registration.
Here are the changes coming to both NSW and the ACT.
Drivers can choose their offset amount, between $5 and $200, when opting into the scheme which began in January.
The voluntary scheme will allow drivers to purchase Australian Carbon Credit Units, generated through abatement projects around the country.
Treasurer Matt Kean on Friday said the average car generated about 2.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year but that could be fully offset with $80 of carbon credits.
“It’s the first scheme of its kind anywhere in the country. We’re really excited about it,” the treasurer told reporters on Friday.
“We know that vehicle emissions can cause about 22 per cent of the state’s total emissions.
“Fifty per cent of that comes from private vehicles.
“This is an opportunity for people to do their bit for the environment to offset their carbon emissions.”
Quizzed on how popular the scheme would be in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, Kean said the government was not forcing the cost onto drivers.
“People who choose to do their bit to reduce their emissions, to protect our environment, whilst registering their vehicle can now have that opportunity,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Australia’s capital, energy and climate groups welcomed the scheme, calling the revised fees a nation-leading development that could help Australia catch up to other countries in the race to electrify transport.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced the policy change on Wednesday, revealing the territory would stop charging for registration based on a vehicle’s weight and instead use its level of carbon emissions.
The changes would mean the price of registering an electric Hyundai Kona would fall from from $599 to $329 – the lowest charge – and the price of a hybrid Toyota Camry would fall to $365.
Utes and other light commercial vehicles would pay the same rate of registration while lightweight but high-emitting vehicles, such as sports cars, would cost $50 more to register.
“These new initiatives are designed to ensure we have an appropriate vehicle registration system for the future,” Barr said.
“They will see lower fees for lower emission vehicles, including for lower emitting petrol and diesel vehicles.”
The scheme is expected to cost $6.6 million over four years and will come into force in July following a two-year free registration period for new and used zero-emission vehicles.
ACT Energy Minister Shane Rattenbury said the new policy would ensure electric vehicles were “a more affordable option for more Canberrans” and would support the territory’s ban on petrol and diesel car registrations by 2035.
“Zero-emissions vehicles continue to gain momentum in the ACT, with registrations doubling from 2021 to 2022,” he said.
Electric vehicles made up 9.5 per cent of all new car purchases in the ACT last year, outnumbering sales in other parts of Australia.
Smart Energy Council chief executive John Grimes said the territory’s new approach to registration should set a precedent for other governments to follow.
“Electric vehicles are already cheaper to fill up and maintain compared to a petrol or diesel car and now they’ll be cheaper to register too,” he said.
Other states and territories to offer discounts for electric vehicle registrations include Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory, though Victoria also imposed a road-user tax for low-emission vehicles last year.
– With reporting by AAP and Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
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