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Liquid fuel security increasingly dire, standards, EV policy needed: report

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According to progressive think tank The Australia Institute, its new research shows the nation has only become more dependent on imported transport fuels since the federal government released a “dire” interim report on the subject three years ago.

“The federal government failed to deliver its final Liquid Fuel Security Review in 2019 and since then Australia has become more, not less fuel insecure,” said the institute’s Richie Merzian in a statement.

“High petrol prices are already hurting Australians. The only long-term solution is getting off oil. This involves increasing fuel efficiency and transitioning to electric vehicle[s].”

Among findings in the new report released on Thursday and titled Over a barrel: Addressing Australia’s Liquid Fuel Security were that 91 per cent of consumption was of imported fuels, 73 per cent of all liquid fuel was consumed by transport, and (going by January 2022 figures) Australia held only 68 days of liquid fuel (the International Energy Agency recommends a minimum of 90 days.)

“It’s worrying that Australia is almost entirely reliant on foreign oil for fuel consumption leaving it ill-prepared to deal with international disruptions,” said Merzian.

The Australia Institute laments that two remaining major oil refineries have been allocated $2 billion in federal support, yet nothing is provided for electric vehicles.

According to Merzian, lax fuel standards and the lack of a national EV policy have left the Australia with one of the least fuel-efficient vehicle fleets in the OECD, and switching all passenger vehicles to electric could substitute the use of 33 per cent of imported oil with domestic electricity.

The report can be read here.

Picture: Kelly Barnes, AAP

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