Switch trucks if you want to save fuel under carbon tax: MP

Labor MP says trucking operators should switch to cleaner vehicles if they want to reduce their fuel bill under a carbon tax

By Brad Gardner | September 20, 2011

A Labor MP has questioned the impact a carbon tax will have on trucking companies and says operators should switch vehicles if they want to save money.

Amid Coalition claims that the industry will suffer under the scheme, Labor MP Yvette D’Ath says price fluctuations in global oil in recent years have had more of an effect on fuel prices than what the carbon tax will.

Trucking will pay the tax from July 1, 2014 in the form of a 6.85 cents-per-litre reduction to the fuel tax credit. The tax will shift to an emissions trading scheme the following year.

"In just the last four years, the price of diesel has fluctuated by around 62 cents a litre – it has cost between $1.18 and $1.80 a litre at the bowser," D’Ath says.

"Trucks that use LPG, CNG and LNG as well as ethanol, biodiesel and renewable diesel will not be affected at all, and the impact of a reduction in the fuel tax credit can be offset by moving to more fuel-efficient vehicles."

During a parliamentary debate on the carbon tax yesterday, D’Ath says Australia needs to look at weaning itself off oil as the diminishing resource becomes increasingly expensive.

While D’Ath cited Treasury modelling predicting negligible increases in prices under the tax, Opposition Whip Patrick Secker claims the extra costs on transport "will be enormous".

Inverell Freighters estimates the tax will cost it $350,000 from July 2014, while Gommers Transport in Secker’s electorate of Barker told him it will fork out an extra $60,000 in fuel costs alone.

"That is about $6,000 extra per truck. Gommers employ just under 30 people and transport is just one extra cost," Secker says.

"They believe that the flow-on costs will be massive, and I hear stories similar to Gommers all over Barker."

Labor’s Sid Sidebottom, who holds the seat of Braddon, says delaying action on climate change will only make the transition to a cleaner economy harder.

"We cannot just stick our heads in the sand and expect that we will not be adversely affected by sea-level rises and the increasing incidence of extreme drought, floods and bushfires," he says.

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