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Fossil fuel subsidies

Yes the cost of Fossil Fuel cars is highly subsidised by the Taxpayer and costs more than just money.


Dear r333r,

I do prefer to at least use first names.

Which report provides that assessment? Hopefully it is an interesting read?

I would also note that the way the reference has come across in your prior post you are representing @mark_m as saying “It is about time somebody took action.”

In context the statement should correctly be attributable to @syncretic. In context I read it as an acknowledgement of the announcement by NSW To push to electrify it’s fleet of 8,000 buses.

We had a CSIRO/Holden Hybrid Car demonstrated at the 2000 Olympics. GM and the Government could have fast tracked this car and promoted other Hybrid Vehicles (including Buses) giving us cleaner air and far less reliance on Oil/Petrol. As Electric cars came to market we could have been early adopters and used the 1980’s Australian Invented Vanadium Battery to role out a renewable energy grid to charge electric vehicles and provide backup as well. We would have been less of a target for extremists and the amount of Refugees would have been far lower so far less spent on refugee centres and the smugglers business model would have less customers. All these costs and the subsequent loss of Freedoms are borne by the Taxpayer not Oil companies. Small countries can have a huge affect by Invention,Development and practical Implementation so by Early adoption of Electric Transport and Renewable Energy gives a Blueprint for other countries to adopt especially if we make it work in our small population then economies of scale are even greater for larger populations. Norway and Denmark are good examples Even the Oil countries(not invaded) are adopting these Technologies far quicker than us as they know the future isn’t Oil.

Australia has as @syncretic points out a significant need for lowering vehicle particulate emissions. Australia has not mandated the same high standards as Europe. European emissions compliant vehicles rely on better quality fuel, than Australia chooses to import. Standards Australia could have also implemented at the same time, well before the first Tesla EV was sold here.

There is value in considering the Vanadium redox battery, it’s limitations and use.

There are other topics in the community that consider battery technology and EV’s or solar power systems. Perhaps @r333r you might be able to encourage that discussion further.

As a brief note.
The vanadium flow battery is an emerging technology. Current developments are targeting fixed storage due to the very large volume and bulk of the technology. It was not a suitable technology for vehicle use in 2000 and remains unsuitable in its current form. The battery was not invented by an Australian, although a key development of the technology required to deliver the battery is Australian. And covered by a patent.

For any one curious about the Vanadium redox battery,

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You had better contact the UNSW and explain how they had nothing to do with the Vanadium Battery. And explain to the many companies that use Vanadium Batteries as Back-up in Hospitals/Factories/Offices etc and for over a decades.You can also buy from a German Company (because we are reluctant to further anything that might take us away from Oil) a Battery system that helps recharge Electric Vehicles The Vanadium Battery was never meant to be used in cars but has been used in China to run Buses. Its is a fully available product that is being utilised in many countries to help level grids, provide immediate backup and last far longer than Lithium Batteries and no chance of Overheating as its Electrolyte is mainly made of Water or some other safe liquid. 40% of all new cars sold in Norway are Electric, Australia has 5 SUV Fossil Fuel Burners in the top10 of Vehicle sales.

Would you explain this please. Just how is this subsidy done? How much is it? Why is it done?


Well fossil fuel is heavily subsidised for a start. I believe the IEA (International Energy Agency) has estimated the 2018 direct oil subsidies Worldwide to have been USD$181,691 Million. These are subsidies paid so consumers don’t pay as much to consume the fuels and are not the subsidies given to production of fossil fuel business and when these are taken into account the total subsidies for all fossil fuels cost around USD$4.7 Trillion in 2017 (IMF calculations

Then we have Govts in many parts of the World who give deals to their car manufacturers to produce vehicles. Even Australia participated in this with helping Ford, GMH etc maintain car manufacturing here until they withdrew their businesses.

Then you have R&D tax relief, low taxation of many of the businesses (using Tax Havens is part of the shifting of tax debt). I think it is somewhat proven that there is large subsidising of fossil fuel motoring.

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Let me ask you who pays to keep the shipping lanes open to get Oil out of the Middle East? Who pays for the illegal Wars to maintain the Oil supply to the benefit of the West? Who pays for the refugees to be put in camps or integrated into society, Who pays for the huge amount expended keeping Terrorists at bay? Who pays to treat all the people who die or suffer health consequences of the polluted air? Exploration Tax Subsidies? Answer not the Oil companies. None of this cost is a part of the price at the petrol pump its all borne by the taxpayer. I’m curious to know why a government that Screams about National Security keeps us tied to such a volatile and expensive polluting fuel source? For our Security it would mean going to Electric Transportation powered by Renewable Energy sourced in our own country with little or no support from the taxpayer. Petrol would be more like $50 a Litre if Oil companies paid and the immense cost of Human Life, Environmental Destruction,War and Supply is too huge to be in any crass number. It certainly no cost to Oil companies.

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You are asking a whole lot of rhetorical questions and asking me to buy into global conspiracy theory. It is quite obvious that some aspects of global politics and even wars have been motivated by access to oil. If you want me to agree that wars have been fought that involve oil and Oz has been part of them I do. The reasons why our government has done so are complex and not entirely to do with Australia securing its oil supply. This has little to do with providing a subsidy for an industry and even less to do with air pollution from vehicles.

Do you have anything to say about how we might ameliorate the health impacts of vehicle emissions for the limited time that we have ICE vehicles?


How is it a conspiracy its real world costs to provide a highly pollutant product that produces carcinogens across Australia.If you think conspiracies can never exist then have a look at “Who Killed the Electric Car” and Exxon’s Admission that they knew their product Oil (through their own Scientists) would contribute to Global Warming since 1980 yet continued to say through a large propaganda campaign that the Science on Global Warming is not settled. If Renewable Energy required as much money as Oil by being a product expensively acquired there would be outrage. I tried to lay out the true cost of Oil which includes the harm done by its pollutants but I guess Oil just appears at the Petrol Pump at no cost. Here is something you can try. The vast majority of times I watch a YouTube video on Electric Cars it carries Ads for Large SUV’s Hmmmm?

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A general comment.
How taxes contribute to anyone outcome in life is always complex.

For Australia it could be said that those who pay the greatest amount in tax subsidies those who pay the least.

If there is any subsidisation of the petroleum industry in Australia through taxes, it could be said it is those better off are subsidising lower cost vehicles and fuel for those who otherwise could not afford to own or run a vehicle.

I get the generalisation about the global value or interests of the petroleum industry in maintaining the status quo. I doubt it is an easy discussion. It would seem more useful to neglect that discussion and focus on the way forward.

Lower vehicle Emissions in Australia.
Australia could for moderate cost increases have simultaneously adopted all improved Euro vehicle emissions standards. In most instances Australia’s Governments have said yes to the standards, then acted to substantially defer their introduction. Even as a vehicle manufacturer, it is only one part of the engine system that needed to be updated. Australia is now only a global buyer. The real reason for tardiness to update Australia perhaps is political. A resistance to seeing fuel costs increase, and the subsequent supposed damage to the economy.

There are better solutions for improved vehicle emissions. Clean vehicle technology and decreased use of personal transport for lower emissions mass transport.

Each State Govt has strategies for the way forward. Some may be better developed or glossier than others. (Colour of the political apparel an influencing factor perhaps?)

Referring back to my earlier comment re taxation and subsidies. Those most able to convert to electric vehicles today are those with higher incomes, and hopefully in a fair tax system, the greatest contributors of personal taxes. For all the excuses from range anxiety to being a climate denier, the only real reason for not converting is the high upfront cost of EVs for everyday use.

Perhaps if all the so called petroleum industry subsidies were removed and taxation reduced. Would those better off be able to justify buying EVs today? Assuming it is likely, what of all those less financially well off. Their old petrol guzzlers will become more expensive to operate, while worthless as trade ins. The cost of a replacement with an EV will be equally unaffordable. It worsens the poverty trap and would likely push more Australians into worse outcomes financially.

I doubt we need to look overseas, to conspiracy theories, to foreign business interests or to international conflicts to discuss what Australia could do to reduce vehicle emissions. Short term and long term.


Its the masses or lower income that subsidise Car values. Its economies of scale. You sell millions of a car its unit price drops. The Profits made although small on each one subsidise the Fantasy Rich mans Cars that would be even hard for them to buy if their true cost was borne.The high end cars usually consume more petrol, have speeds up to 3 times the road speed limit which can’t legally be used.Diesel is directly subsidised for Farmers and Miners etc. Go to New Zealand and see how there are many Used iMiev and Nissan Leafs at prices affordable to the masses. Range anxiety is mostly a scare tactic by the Polluters as 85% of Australians are urbanised and commute daily in distances easily done by even older Electric Cars. Look to Brazil they have Flex Engines available from all manufacturers that can run any percentage of Ethanol you put in the car. Hybrids are readily available but rarely promoted. You have to look at what happens overseas as far as Oil goes just recently Saudi Arabian refineries were blown up and the price skyrocketed. We have 11 Days Oil back up how volatile does it have to get before weaning Australia off Oil becomes a Top Priority?

For better or worse the benefits of nationhood and the Industrial revolution have been spread across the whole of our community. It may not have been equal or fair. Being constructive and inclusive might be a better way forward. Apportioning blame subjectively seems counter productive.


One thing Australia could do is improve the quality of the fuel we do burn so that we can benefit from the Euro 6 emission standards in our engines. Currently our fuel Sulphur content is way too much so we are stuck on Euro 5 standard engines. This has been mentioned in another topic.

In regards to subsidies, if similar amounts Worldwide were put into renewable tech to power our transport as that are put into fossil fuel I think we would also see great leaps forward in the many areas of Renewables in more than just Vehicles. This would also lead to new industries to take advantage of the renewable energy market. Win Win in that case with a reduction in emissions as well as new employment opportunities.


While other countries have subsidies to reduce fossil fuel prices below the market prices, such does not exist in Australia. Treasury has released ‘G20 commitment on fossil fuel subsidies: SOP and Australia’s response’ which provides a indication of the current situation in Australia.

Queensland was until recently the only state that had a fuel subsidy on vehicle fuels. This subsidy was however scrapped in 2009.

Often the mining industry as quoted as having government fuel subsidies, but this relates to the mining and agricultural sectors not paying the diesel fuel excise as this excise is used/pooled with other monies to fund road maintenance and upgrades. As mining and agricultural equipment generally does not use roads, they are exempt from the excise.

There is also arguments that the full environmental, social or economic (such as forgone opportunity) costs are not included in the price of fossil fuels. While this may be correct, it also applies to almost everything which is consumed either by industry or the domestic sectors.

Another point is that mining companies can reduce their company tax burden by claiming expenses associated with mining operations and exploration activities. Such rebates are available to any business, including mining, so that business costs can be deduced from income the business derives.

Another commonly referred to subsidy is that mining companies don’t have to rehabilitate the land that they disturb…while this is true in active mining areas, most states now have introduced legislation which addresses these concerns and mining companies are required to progressively rehabilitate disturbed areas once active mining ceases in the area. An example is the Queensland situation.

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An alternate description of the circumstances.
Not a subsidy on the cost of production. More a rebate to the suppliers to reduce the effective rate of tax paid on each litre of fuel. No different really to getting tax back from the ATO at year end because you paid too much! :wink:

In 1997 the Federal Howard led government introduced a uniform national excise on fuel, to replace state government fuel taxes. Except in Queensland where there was no state fuel tax. The Qld State Govt put in place a rebate to ensure fuel prices did not increase as a consequence.

Politics being what it is, the federal fuel excise spiralling ever upwards, fuel companies/servos being what they are and interstate truckies debatably benefitting from the rebate, Qld abandoned the scheme 12 years later.


I was in NZ recently, staying with a niece and her husband, they have an all electric BMW. They bought it early, so they could sell their petrol one, before they become virtually worthless. NZ is way ahead with charging points going up in car parks etc. plus government encouragement. The fossil fuel industries are causing us harm in several ways, thanks to their political donations.

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Aussies are not left out either.

Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Ioniq, Kia Kona Electric, BMW i3s, Tesla Model 3, Renault Zoe, etc

Plenty of choice from around $60k plus on road give or take up to $80k?

Two observations.

  • Firstly these are no ordinary cars, and as such are not within the grasp of the majority of Australian motorists.
  • Secondly there is no immediate economic payback on owning an EV for average use in Australia. Moral or emotional or long term environmental benefit aside.

For anyone who chooses and can afford an EV in Australia, that is a great choice, even if it is recharged from coal fired power stations.

It seems unlikely there is any Australian petroleum industry conspiracy. The home of the modern mass produced petrol guzzler and some big petroleum companies (the USA) continues strong growth in EV sales. More than 300,000 in 2018. As a comparison in 2018 the top two selling vehicles in Aus were the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger. EV sales here were a few thousand. It may be the market needs to reassess its priorities on that score?

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I have only seen one public recharge point in Australia, in a country town. They need to be in every filling station.

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There could be cheaper EV options soon. The Sono Motors Sion will sell for about 16,000 Euro + 9,000 Euro for the battery (which will be able to be leased instead of purchased) a total of around AU$40,000. Maybe we will see cheaper options than many of the current brands on the market nearer us as manufacturers get more involved, well we can at least hope

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