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How electric vehicles are breathing life back into great Australian road trip

by Staff

Holidaymakers could save almost $600 on the cost of popular Australian road trips by swapping a petrol vehicle for an electric car, research has found.

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Figures from the Climate Council revealed the savings after the group crunched the cost of common road trips out of NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT.

In the most extreme example, Melbourne motorists looking to explore the Nullarbor Plain could save $594 by driving a battery-electric vehicle on holidays rather than an average petrol car.

The findings come after sales of new electric vehicles more than doubled in Australia in 2023 and as climate and technology advocates urged the federal government to introduce fuel-efficiency standards soon to see more EVs imported to the country.

In its research, the council compared the costs of driving an average petrol-powered passenger car to a more fuel-efficient vehicle, as well as a battery vehicle charged from the national electricity grid.

Road trips in electric vehicles proved to be significantly cheaper, saving $334 on a round trip between Sydney and Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, $354 from Canberra to Byron Bay return and $586 on a return trip from Brisbane to Cairns.

Climate Council economist Nicki Hutley said the figures proved Australian drivers could unlock significant savings by choosing more efficient vehicles.

“Having cleaner cars that are cheaper to run will help relieve the cost-of-living pressures,” she said.

“Seven in 10 drivers already say they’re changing their driving habits, including avoiding taking road trips, in response to skyrocketing fuel prices.”

Ms Hutley said drivers who didn’t own an electric vehicle could hire one to realise savings and fuelling an electric car using solar power could reduce costs further.

The group’s analysis also revealed fuel-efficient vehicles that used 4.5 litres of petrol per kilometre compared to 11.1 litres could also deliver major savings for motorists.

Driving from Sydney to Melbourne and back in a more efficient vehicle, for example, could save drivers $214.Climate Council advocacy head Jennifer Rayner said the analysis showed greener vehicles could make a significant difference to budgets as well as the environment.

“We need cars that use far less fuel to help save Aussies money and cut pollution,” she said.

“They’re out there but there aren’t enough of them available to buyers.”

The federal government committed to introducing a fuel-efficiency standard in its National Electric Vehicle Strategy in April 2023 but Transport Minister Catherine King said it was taking time “to get the design right”.

In December, the government also revealed plans to introduce fuel emission rules in late-2025 that would ensure new vehicles meet designated standards.

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