Profile of Australia's Trucking Fleet: Age and Emissions
One way the road transport industry can look to reduce their noxious emission output is through the use of newer, safer and more efficient freight vehicles. However the average age of Australia’s trucking fleet is higher than other economies such as Japan, Europe and the United States. While Australia is a global leader on environmental measures imposed on new trucks through Australian Design Rules, the rules only apply to trucks when purchased new.
As a result, and taking into consideration the effective lifetime span of a heavy vehicle, a substantial number of heavy vehicle trucks throughout Australia were purchased before more stringent emission controls were placed on new trucks (pre-1996). The issue today is that these vehicles still make up a sizeable percentage of trucks in operation today and are responsible for more than their fair share of the road freight industry’s noxious gases.
Before 1996 there were no limits on the NOx or PM levels that could be emitted from heavy vehicles. Prime movers at this time produced roughly 16 grams of NOx and 1.2 grams of PM for every kWh (1 litre of diesel equals roughly 10 kWh). This was reduced in 1996 to 8g and 0.36g respectively. These levels have been further reduced through more stringent Australian Design Rules implemented in 2003, 2008 and 2011. New trucks purchased today are limited to 2 grams of NOx and 0.02 grams of PM per kWh.
The Profile of Australia's Trucking Fleet document (available below) details the age profile of Australia's trucking fleet. It includes information on their emission outputs and the negative economic and health consequences associated with excessive noxious emissions from outdated heavy vehicles. It further discusses a potential incentive program (Accelerated Depreciation) to be delivered by government to reduce the high percentage of older trucks on the road.