4WD's - What the Syd Morning Herald is saying today:

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 08:03
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[Edit: GO the Jeep!!!! ]

Short road for big cars
February 16, 2005

The war against 4WDs is being fought on new fronts. But, writes Tim Dick, armies of us will still keep buying them.

You would not expect a four-wheel drive to be Australia's least air-polluting vehicle. But there it is, the Jeep Cherokee Sport, at the top of the Australian Greenhouse Office's ranking.

Every new car is ranked by the Greenhouse Office to show how badly it pollutes the air. Vehicles are assessed for pumping out things such as carbon monoxide and benzene, adding to city smog and making breathing decidedly unpleasant.

Unfortunately for the 4WD lobby, the Cherokee is an exception. Big cars do not appear again in the Greenhouse Office's top 100. Which is why a number of councils were yesterday considering joining North Sydney in imposing high parking fees on what they regard as big, gas-guzzling, air-polluting vehicles.

North Sydney Council passed its controversial new scale of residents' parking charges on Monday night. Manly, Willoughby and Parramatta councils were yesterday looking to follow suit. (But some people, such as Waverley's Mayor, Peter Moscatt, say it is not the place of local government to encourage greener cars.)
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North Sydney's scale drops the parking fee by half for "very low-impact" vehicles, such as those powered by petrol and electricity. Smaller cars, like a Toyota Corolla, get a 25 per cent discount. Large family cars retain the current fee, while owners of "high-impact" vehicles - named as 4WDs and those with eight-cylinder engines - will pay double the parking fee ($88 for one permit, $200 for a second).

Is the poor reputation of 4WDs warranted? Yes, say environmentalists such as Jeff Angel, director of the NSW green lobby group Total Environment Centre. "It's the move to bigger [vehicles] that's the problem."

While the 2.4-litre Jeep Cherokee Sport - which is much smaller than its brethren, the Nissan Patrol, Toyota LandCrusier and Mitsubishi Pajero - enjoys a top air-quality rating, it does not fare as well on the Government's greenhouse gas emissions rating. (The Toyota Prius - which runs on petrol and a bank of batteries - comes first on this scale.)

All vehicles have to comply with air pollution standards, but not the greenhouse gas rating, which is influenced by how much fuel a vehicle uses. On a scale of zero to 10 (where zero is the least environmentally friendly), the Cherokee Sport scores five. It trails the tiny 1.5-litre Holden Cruze on 7.5, but beats Porsche's 4WD Cayenne on 2.0, Toyota's LandCruiser on 1.5 and the 4.8-litre Nissan Patrol on just 0.5.

"There are three reasons that [4WDs] are unhelpful to the environment," says Angel. "They use more metal and materials, and we should in fact be conserving resources, bearing in mind that very few people need these large vehicles for the trips they do. They often use diesel, which produces fine particulates which are very dangerous air pollutants. [And] they are less efficient users of fuel [than cars]."

Although some older small cars are more of an environmental menace than the latest 4WDs, Angel does not believe authorities should focus on forcing older cars off the road. "Australians hang on to their cars for about a decade. You can't force people to put new emission controls on [existing cars]. It's pretty bloody difficult."

The more practical strategy is to address the problem in new, big cars and let the older cars gradually die out.

NO MOTOR vehicle has particularly green credentials. Altogether, cars, trucks and 4WDs have an enormous input into pollution. Since 1999, the Federal Government's National Pollutant Inventory has tracked what exactly is in the air that, generally speaking, shouldn't be.

Collectively, motor vehicles are the biggest contributors to the country's emissions, pumping out 8.8 per cent of Australia's emissions every year. They release more chemicals than mining, metal manufacturing, aerosols and all other categories.

Motor vehicles produce more than a third of our carbon monoxide emissions (or 2.2 billion kilograms a year going into our air, land and water) and two-thirds of our benzene emissions.

This is why some Sydney councils are considering following North Sydney's lead and levying charges on big vehicles. "The proposed variation in [parking] fees will help to discourage residents from owning vehicles which have a greater impact on the environment and encourage residents to own vehicles which have a lesser impact on the environment," a North Sydney report said.

The report does not consider whether a $44 increase in parking levies will discourage motorists from buying such expensive cars. But the council's basic tenet is: the larger the car engine, the more fuel consumed, the more greenhouse gases emitted.

The logic is backed by the president of the Australasian Society of Automotive Engineers, Professor Harry Watson, who also points his finger at diesel engines - more often found in 4WDs than in cars - because they give off the troublesome "particulates" that can cause respiratory problems. .

North Sydney's measure does not take into account the type of fuel used - simply the amount used and the Greenhouse Office's ratings. That means a Cherokee Sport would be charged the standard fee, while a big Nissan Patrol would be slapped with the full increase.

WHILE North Sydney is discouraging 4WDs, the Federal Government continues to do the opposite, encouraging sales with its bush-friendly import duty policy. Cars are taxed at 10 per cent, while 4WDs get off with half that duty, making them thousands of dollars more attractive. The Government intended this discount for farmers and those who live on the land, rather than urban mums and dads.

But 4WDs "became the car to buy when you have children", replacing the station wagon of old and contributing to the boom in city numbers, says Con Stavros, a senior marketing lecturer at RMIT University in Melbourne.

Stavros says Australia has divided into two groups - pro-4WDs and pro-cars - each with strident views that depend on whether you own one or not. He says 4WDs attract a "brand loyalty" in their owners that survives the increasing rage of, seemingly, everyone else on the road.

The insurer AAMI surveys drivers' attitudes every year, last year asking 1880 of them about 4WDs for the first time. Nearly half said they did not belong in the city, even though three in five 4WD owners surveyed lived in metropolitan areas. A third of them wanted special licences for drivers, 70 per cent of car drivers thought 4WDs were dangerous and a surprising 39 per cent of 4WD drivers agreed with them.

The safety worries have considerable support. Australian crash data suggests three times as many 4WDs than cars roll over in crashes, and they are in 20 per cent more crashes per kilometre travelled. But their occupants are far less likely to die than the occupants of a car in a crash.

The figures, from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, show that just 18 per cent of people injured in crashes involving 4WDs were inside them, while 64 per cent were in a car, 11 per cent were on a motorcycle and 4 per cent were on a bicycle.

Not that environmental or safety concerns have done anything to cool the love affair an increasing number of people have with 4WDs.

In 1996, more than 50,000 4WDs were sold in Australia, not even 8 per cent of the vehicles brought nationally. But that increased by 40 per cent the next year, and the next, until it reached a massive 173,087 new 4WDs on our roads last year. These vehicles now make up 18.1 per cent of the new car market, a 135 per cent increase in just eight years.

Strident opposition to 4WDs in cities, shifting opinions as to their safety, and environmental concerns have done nothing to slow their purchase. North Sydney's new parking scale is unlikely to, either.

[ http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Short-road-for-big-cars/2005/02/15/1108230000293.html }
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Reply By: Baz (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 08:13

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 08:13
So i guess my little 2.5l Landy is good too like the Jeep as apposed to these great lumbering gas guzzling Patrols and Cruisers.

Baz ;o)
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Follow Up By: Member - Paul J (ACT) - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 08:29

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 08:29
Eh, i heard that Baz, hehehe mine runs mostly on lpg, hope thats clean enogh for them.
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Follow Up By: Nudenut - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 08:30

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 08:30
theyre only gas guzzlers to those who cant afford to run a real 4wd lol lol
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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 10:01

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 10:01
I think the 350 ci (5.7Litre) Holden V8 gets about 35mpg on highway cycle, thats a lot better than some of the smaller new cars around, So whos having who on??
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Follow Up By: Baz (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 12:57

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 12:57
Better than fishing the harbour, lol and i don't need a rod.
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Reply By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 08:53

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 08:53
Is there a lack of real news in Sydney? Oh well back out to Kurnalpi today and then Mt monger tomorrow. Perhaps some of these clowns should come and join me and see how the wealth creators of Australias biggest wealth creating Electorate actually get around and perhaps they can follow in their Prius
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Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 09:06

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 09:06
Davoe, I find Sydney a bit like your average corporate head office, full of suits and self importance.

Geoff.
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Reply By: old-plodder - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 08:54

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 08:54
I quote the following from the above.

"There are three reasons that [4WDs] are unhelpful to the environment," says Angel. "They use more metal and materials, and we should in fact be conserving resources, bearing in mind that very few people need these large vehicles for the trips they do. They often use diesel, which produces fine particulates which are very dangerous air pollutants. [And] they are less efficient users of fuel [than cars]."

Although some older small cars are more of an environmental menace than the latest 4WDs, Angel does not believe authorities should focus on forcing older cars off the road. "Australians hang on to their cars for about a decade. You can't force people to put new emission controls on [existing cars]. It's pretty bloody difficult."

So

I don't think this bloke has heard of the concept of the total environmental cost over the life of the item. I would guess that most 4wds have a longer life span, and therefore possibly are more environmentally friendly using less resources over the same period as using 2 cars. I usually keep my 4wd for 10 years or more.

Same with older cars. The other car in our family is a 74 beetle.
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Follow Up By: Des Lexic - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 11:49

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 11:49
G'day old plodder,
I think the author of the article is probably in a North Sydney hospital by now after repeatedly shooting himself in the foot.

They often use diesel, which produces fine particulates which are very dangerous air pollutants. [And] they are less efficient users of fuel [than cars]."
I'm led to believe that diesel produces less pollutants than petrol.
We use diesels because they use less fuel than petrol models and therefore are more efficient.

The argument on the sales tax difference is bleep tered when one looks at the reason behind sales tax.
Import Duty on motor vehicles was originally about 30% and if you can remember the outcry when the govt. of the day wanted to reduce the Import Duty so we would all get cheaper vehicles. The domestic Car industry screamed about being uncompetitive and that the local car industry would be shut down so the govt introduced a decreasing scale of Import Duty so that the local industry would be protected and not to give primary producers any cost advantages. Eventualy all vehicles will have a zero Import Duty on them.
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Follow Up By: Savvas - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 15:14

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 15:14
"They often use diesel, which produces fine particulates which are very dangerous air pollutants."

Geez ... wouldn't want to travel to europe where diesel is fast becoming the fuel of choice. I'd much rather visit countries that have clean air cities that favour petrol, like LA!
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Reply By: Willem - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 09:18

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 09:18
The writers of the diatribe against 4x4s never mention the hundreds of thousands of trucks, B doubles and Road Trains which ply the routes of our country. 4x4's seem to be the flavour of the month, every month and the accent on this phenomena is continued on in forums such as this one where you who post these repeat articles perpetrate the one-eyed untruths as espoused by the print or electronic media. Take every newspaper areticle with a pinch of salt.
AnswerID: 98624

Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 10:20

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 10:20
Willem, interesting observation, I travel the Hume Highway daily from the Southern Highlands to Sydney daily. Every 100 metres is a semi or B-Double, thats an awful lot of trucks driving to and across Sydney, delivering goods, all out of Melbourne. All these vehicles are going through school zones and suburbia the same as 4 wheel drives. There is no way that amount of 4x4's on the road, i would have thought that the trucks pose more of a problem seeing as the drivers have just driven 9 hours to get to their destination. You only have to look at the crash stats and i think it's 2 truck drivers killed a week. Its probably about time that pathetic little man Scruby started opening his eyes.
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Reply By: motherhen - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 10:59

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 10:59
This topic has really got our attention! Look at the post topics since last night. It seems that the reports i heard (on three programmes, including Today Tonight WA version) all had a 4WD bias - maybe that Channel is on our side becasue they've got a lot of people fired up.

Question is - as North Sydney want to create a tax on "greenhouse gas" producers, how are they going to solve the greenhouse effect with the money they collect for it? Lets ask them that too. If they just want to hit the "rich belt" with another tax, i'm quite sure it won't have them all selling there large vehicles and buying those little mobile wheelbarrow type cars. Just another money grab from people they think will cough it up.
AnswerID: 98636

Reply By: Swine Hunter - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 11:56

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 11:56
I will keep it short and sweet.....

1) Have any of these councils considered how they will tackle the objections from owners of large capacity engines running LPG? This is the greenest most widely available fuel at present, and in lots of states when doing conversions to big block chevs and other very large v8's from smaller engines LPG is the only way to get them engineered for emission testing.

2) Will $44 stop anyone buying a $35k - $70k new 4wd? I think not...

This is simply a way for a council to grab a few more $$ whilst using the green flag as cover from the uproar at any increse they want to impose.

I live within the bounds of Waverley council, and good to see our mayor thinks it isn't his job to be dabbling into this debate.

Cheers,
Wayne
AnswerID: 98646

Reply By: Member - Chrispy (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 12:02

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 12:02
I think that for a country that refuses to partake in the Kyoto Protocol, it's a bit rich for local councils to "take responsibility" for our environment when this is clearly a Federal issue. It is none of their business.
AnswerID: 98649

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 20:42

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 20:42
when you relize that their are trials being done up near Leonora to determine how much co2 scrubbing is done by Mulga trees. This is done so that we can plant Mulgas in semi desert environs used for nothing else and then sell off the carbon credits to developing nations so they can keep belching the air with smoke. That did it for me KYOTO = BULL#$%^
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Reply By: Coops (Ex-Pilbara) - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 14:23

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 14:23
How can 4x4's take up more floor space when all parking bays are the same size?
AnswerID: 98675

Reply By: Member - Bradley- Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 16:17

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 16:17
So jeff angel is happy for his greenie desciples to drive around in smoking oldbleepeheaps, Especially the ones who proclaim to be vegetarian and against animal use, but happily wear leather shoes etc. Damn hypocrites all of them.
AnswerID: 98692

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