World ‘car free’ day

World Car Free Day on September 22 will see cities from Paris to Bogota close their streets to cars, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to rule the roads. The day began in a formal way in the mid-1990s with cities in Iceland, the UK, and France leading the way and has now spread to other cities across the globe. Some such as Jakarta in Indonesia now make a car-free day a regular event on the monthly calendar.

As people around the world get a taste of life without traffic congestion and pollution, they are also embracing alternate ways to travel that don’t rely on fossil fuels.

In Australia a growing number of financial institutions and state governments are supporting the drive towards fossil fuel free cars. About 43% of Australia’s transport emissions are from passenger vehicles.

Fortunately, there are now multiple institutions offering green car loans for borrowers wanting to switch to hybrid or electric vehicles. Bank Australia recently announced it will cease funding car loans for new fossil fuel vehicles from 2025. The bank sees it as a vital part of its strategy to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2035.

It has been offering discounted rates for green car loans since 2018. However, it has stated it will continue to offer loans for second-hand fossil fuel vehicles until there is a viable market for electric vehicles. Currently, Australia has about 50,000 electric vehicles on the road, out of about 15m passenger vehicles, according to the Electric Vehicle Council. That is about one out of every 300 passenger vehicles.

The council believes the primary barrier to increasing that figure is the low supply of electric vehicle models to Australia. To support the shift towards electric vehicles charging infrastructure is also needed.Under current plans the number of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles is set to grow from 291 to just under 1000 in the next five years. There are also currently 1580 regular public electric vehicle charging locations across Australia.

Some lenders offer a lower car loan rate for eligible borrowers purchasing a new or used hybrid or electric vehicle if they are no more than seven years old.To be eligible for a green car loan doesn’t only mean buying a hybrid or electric vehicle. Lenders may allow borrowing for new cars that use petrol but have lower CO2 emissions than a comparable make and model.

State governments are also throwing their support behind the move towards fossil fuel free vehicle alternatives.The ACT government recently announced that it will ban the sale of new petrol cars from 2035.

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