Incentives to Reduce Truck Fleet Age
While not necessarily having an effect on climate change NOx and Particulate Matter (PM) emissions from the use of diesel can have vast negative impacts on the local community. This is particularly true for heavy vehicles that were purchased prior to 1996 as these vehicles did not have to meet any emission standards enforced through Australian Design Rules.
One way the industry can look to reduce these emissions 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.
By promoting measures to modernise Australia’s trucking fleet the Australian government could significantly help the industry lower these harmful emissions. The Australian government is obliged through their National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 to review potential incentives to modernise the nation’s trucking fleet, including tax based incentives. Sustainable Freight makes the argument that the government should be actively investigating such potential tax incentives to modernise Australia’s trucks by reducing the high percentage of trucks purchased before 1996. In particular Sustainable Freight makes the argument an accelerated depreciation scheme is merited of further investigation by government to determine the potential benefits of such a scheme to the industry and wider community. To address these issues Sustainable Freight has developed the report "Profile of Australia's Trucking Fleet: Age and Emissions & Potential Incentives to Reduce the High Percentage of Older Trucks on the Road".