US pick-ups eligible for ‘thoughts and prayers’ to meet Australia’s new emissions rules - SUV VEHICLE

US pick-ups eligible for ‘thoughts and prayers’ to meet Australia’s new emissions rules

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Australia’s alignment to US fuel-efficiency standards will enable big pick-ups to access an emissions credit loophole already used to address other community issues in North America.


Further details of the controversial plan to ease upcoming Australian emissions standards for US pick-ups have been announced, following last week’s confirmation of less stringent targets for smaller utes and vans.

The revisions to the rules, modelled off similar emissions standards used in the US, saw many large four-wheel-drive wagons reclassified as light-commercial vehicles, and subject to higher CO2 limits than smaller passenger cars.

Vehicles that don’t meet the new guidelines, which gradually become more stringent between 2025 and 2029, are subject to a penalty of $100 per gram of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted beyond the threshold – while vehicles that beat the targets are subject to a credits.

These credits may be traded by manufacturers to offset fines applied to certain vehicles.

As the scheme is based on emissions standards used by the US, further detail has emerged today that will see US-built vehicles – including pick-ups such as the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra – subject to a bonus credit system widely used in the US to offset other cultural penalties.

Under this appendix to the rules – agreed to as part of the AUKUS nuclear submarine contract – every sale of a new US pick-up can be associated with a commitment of ‘thoughts and prayers’ to the environment, equivalent to the emissions levy applied under the Australian scheme.

This will see the majority of large pickups treated with a zero-sum emissions penalty, where the hybrid Toyota Tundra will even attract a credit position – recognising it as a ‘green’ vehicle – allowing it to offset vehicles such as the LandCruiser 70 Series V8.

Announcing the program, Mike Raffone, Director of the Strategic Commission of American Manufacturers, said in a media statement:

“The New Vehicle Efficiency Standard sees Australia join the rest of the world in a commitment to lower vehicle emissions, and we’re thrilled to see that the method Americans have been using for decades to combat other significant community issues now able to be used here as well.”

The message of ’thoughts and prayers’ need only be posted to a social media account associated with the sale of the vehicle to receive the credit.

Mr Raffone was unable to provide or substantiate any significant data associated with the application of the credit method in the US, but assured Drive that it worked.

He said any more tangible approaches to managing cultural issues would be unconstitutional and negatively impact key voting communities, and that no further analysis was warranted.

Drive understands further details of the concessions for US pick-ups will be announced at 12:00pm AEDT today.

What cars are built in the US?

Eight manufacturers build cars in the US for the Australian market, with the appendix scheme applicable to all vehicles that fall under the 2025 New Vehicle Efficiency Standard emissions guidelines.

Make Model
BMW X3 / X4 / X5 / X6 / X7 / XM
Chevrolet Silverado / Corvette
Ford F-150 / Mustang
Jeep Gladiator / Wrangler / Grand Cherokee
Mercedes-Benz GLE / GLS / EQE SUV
Nissan Pathfinder
Ram 1500
Toyota Kluger / Tundra
James Ward

With over 20 years of experience in digital publishing, James Ward has worked within the automotive landscape since 2007 and brings experience from the publishing, manufacturer and lifestyle side of the industry together to spearhead Drive’s multi-media content direction.

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