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Govt vehicle emissions dashboard show depts dumping cars

Govt vehicle fleet emissions dashboard show depts dumping cars

First published in Energy and Environment on July 18, 2019.

The first update of the Fleet Emissions Dashboard shows average carbon dioxide emissions for the government’s fleet of light vehicles decreased slightly between April and July this year. While there was very little increase in the number of electric vehicles the total fleet has shrunk.

Average CO2 emissions in the government’s fleet dropped from 168.76 grams per kilometre driven in April to 168.44g/km in July. By comparison, new vehicles sold in NZ in 2018 had an average emissions rating of 180g/km.

The overall fleet size dropped to 14,958 from 15,371, which meant the percentage of electric vehicles in the fleet increased to 0.24% from 0.23%. The fleet’s total estimated CO2 emissions fell to 2,609,605 (g/km) from 2,725,885.

The dashboard was set up to measure agencies progress in implementing the Government’s aim to have the fleet being virtually emissions free by 2025/26.

“The dashboard has been in place for only three months, and the incremental decrease is a step in the right direction,” General Manager, NZ Government Procurement and Property John Ivil said. “Additionally, we now have 400 fewer government vehicles on the road, which means agencies are seeking to better utilise existing fleets and considering whether replacement vehicles are necessary.”

Then Economic Development Minister David Parker recently told a select committee the instruction to departments to immediately reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of their next vehicle purchases compared with their current average by 20% was achievable.

“I expect Government department chief executives to be accountable for achieving it,” Parker said.

“(By) 2025 we expect that virtually all of the vehicles coming into the fleet will be very low emissions or nil emissions.”

Some, such as the Department of Conservation, did have a reliance on a lot of 4x4-type vehicles and there were not many low emissions vehicles in that regard, and that may mean that some of their vehicles need to be electric to make up for it.

Parker said no extra money has been budgeted for the move. “I don’t concede we have to spend a cent extra. I know that, in virtually every vehicle class, there are more efficient vehicles and less efficient vehicles, and the danger if NZ doesn’t do this is that we’ll end up with the bag end of cars that are at the end of tail runs of manufacturing runs overseas, because they themselves have got emissions reduction”.

Other documents provided to the select committee said there was considerable room to improve energy efficiency within departments saying “MBIE and EECA analysis identifies that the state sector can reduce approximately 53% of its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 through energy efficiency improvements in heating, lighting and transport. Government agencies can contribute towards this reduction by simply changing the types of passenger vehicles they purchase. However, efficiency and fuel switching for heating accounts for around 87% of the afore mentioned potential emissions reductions. The greatest potential to reduce energy related emissions is in space and water heating in District Health Board facilities, schools and tertiary institutes.

“While the Rules are mandatory for DHBs, for schools and tertiary institutes they are only good practice guidance. In order to maximise the reduction in government energy-related emissions, further work will be required to ensure the right policy settings are in place for schools and tertiary institutions to make capital investment decisions that take into account their emissions footprint.”
First published in Energy and Environment on July 18, 2019.

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