MOTORING NEWS - As of 1 June, the Carbon Tax Act and the Customs and Excise Amendment Act are effective.
What does this mean for motorists and consumers in general?
Jakkie Olivier, CEO of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), said the carbon emissions taxing is undoubtedly a method to curb unscrupulous operators from paying no heed to the environmentally damaging effects of carbon on the ozone layer and other related impacts, contributing to global warming.
“Ideally the Act should change consumer behaviour and encourage investors to shift towards low carbon options. However, it must be considered that the unscrupulous operators will also more than likely manipulate the returns submitted, given that the current expectation is for the application to be a self-governing one. A further concern in the implementation of this process is where and how the taxes will be managed and/or utilised in the reduction of carbon emissions in general.”
Olivier added the greenhouse gases covered include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, perfluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.
He believed South Africa is certainly trailing the first-world countries in terms of carbon emission reduction efforts.
“However, as a developing country we should be wary of making comparisons. The awareness of emissions in general in South Africa is at a very low level, based on the population location, education levels, unemployment levels and pure subsistence lifestyles.”
He said an immediate and direct impact will be the increase of 9 cents per litre on petrol and 10 cents per litre as of 5 June. In the longer term, the taxing of the petrol and diesel value chains from oil production, transport and venting will likely be passed down to consumers.
In terms of motorists, he recommended that they keep all vehicles, including light, heavy, commercial, agricultural and even off-road equipment vehicles, in optimum running condition at all times by regular servicing and having preventative maintenance done continuously.
“This not only refers to the engine, but to the entire vehicle where items such as incorrect tyre pressure, incorrect wheel alignment, poorly maintained drive trains and even a battery that is not in optimal condition will affect the fuel consumption, which has a direct impact on the vehicle’s carbon footprint,” he said.
The exhaust system is also a major factor in the cleaning of emissions, including carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and particle matter (i.e. soot), into the atmosphere.
While maintenance is the primary source of vehicle emission management, Olivier added that using premium quality parts also plays a role in this regard.
“Driving styles are an all-important way to manage emissions as well. By driving in a less-aggressive way, avoiding harsh acceleration and braking for example, you will contribute less to excessive fuel consumption and reduce carbon emissions,” he concluded.