07 Oct
Will legislation changes lead to a cut in vehicle emissions?

Government makes going green a priority

The automotive sector is a huge contributor to greenhouse gases. After all, not only does it take a vast amount of raw materials that are shipped from different parts of the world to actually build a new vehicle, the majority still rely on internal combustion.

While some electric players are making moves in the market – Tesla for one – individuals and business owners alike are struggling to step away from the traditional. The answer? To make more efficient, cleaner petrol and diesel powered cars.

Government-led change

Naturally, automotive companies are still seeking profits, and may not want to change their operations just to make the world a little 'greener'. While some have taken responsibility for their carbon emissions, with Volkswagen in particular leading the charge, real change may have to be driven by legislation.

Here in New Zealand, the government is making moves to alter the laws surrounding engine fuel specifications in efforts to reduce emissions, something that many manufacturers may have to take notice of. 

"The three key changes proposed are: a significant reduction in sulphur levels in petrol, the introduction of a total oxygen limit in petrol and raising the biodiesel blend limit," explained the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Energy Markets Policy Manager Jamie Kerr.

Cutting sulphur output could save Kiwis around $34 million a year.

The sulphur effect

Crude oil is naturally sulphur-rich and some of the world's untapped resources prominently feature the element. What does this mean? Well, sulphur can be reduced during the refinement process, but it still makes its way into fuels and is harmful once it hits the atmosphere.

As touched on by Mr Kerr, reducing the amount of sulphur in fuel is a top priority.

"Lowering the levels of sulphur in petrol will reduce a range of harmful emissions. The estimated social benefits of this proposal have been modelled at $34 million per annum," he said.

Changing fleets

The proposal aims to bring emissions targets into line with the benchmarks set in Europe. 

What could this mean for fleet managers? Well, in the long term, more manufacturers may look to produce increasingly efficient vehicles. Not only will these ensure that drivers get the most from each fuel card purchase, but it will also do less harm to the environment as well.

Going green may not be a top priority for companies running myriad vehicles, but over time, it appears as though cutting emissions will become a bigger issue for businesses and individuals alike.