Volkswagen scandal drives push for gas use in transport

The recent decision by Volkswagen to stop selling certain diesel vehicles in Australia, following on from the company’s emissions testing scandal, highlights the difficulties oil-based fuels face in cutting both climate change inducing carbon dioxide emissions and deadly toxic tailpipe emissions, according to the peak LPG body in Australia.

Gas Energy Australia (GEA) CEO Mr John Griffiths said “if a company at the forefront of automotive technology like Volkswagen had to cheat, then it’s clearly a tough ask to pass both carbon dioxide and tailpipe emission tests. Fortunately there is an affordable way to reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and tailpipe emissions – it’s using gas instead of petrol or diesel.”

Engines running on gas produce up to 25 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than their diesel counterparts and up to 90 per cent less harmful particulate emissions, and it’s more affordable than diesel or petrol.

Mr Griffiths said “as a result of the scandal, Australians are becoming more aware of the threat posed by diesel emissions which the World Health Organization concluded in 2012 cause cancer in humans”. Independent researchers have estimated that motor vehicle tailpipe emissions kill up to 4,500 Australians each year and hasten the death of up to another 2,000. These figures dwarf the declining national road toll which sits at just above 1,000.

Mr Griffiths added, “Australia has an abundant supply of gaseous fuels, including liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and natural gas. Greater use of Australian gaseous fuels instead of increasingly imported diesel and petrol would reduce vehicle running costs, increase employment, enhance fuel security and improve the environment.

Mr Griffiths called on car manufacturers to make more gas powered vehicles available to Australians and asked Australian governments to remove barriers to their use. He congratulated the efforts of the Victorian Government in working with the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce and GEA to assess the feasibility of manufacturing next generation LPG vehicles in Australia.

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