The final design of a New Vehicle Efficiency Standard for Australia has been released, with the federal government saying it will deliver more cars that are cheaper to run and give motorists more choice.
At the moment, Australia and Russia are the only advanced economies without such a standard in place.
The new Australian standard will only apply to new passenger and light commercial vehicles, not used or existing vehicles.
It will work by providing car companies with targets for average emissions per kilometre from new vehicles sold.
Transport and Regional Development Minister Catherine King said the government favoured a model which ensured achievable change and would bring Australia in line with US standards by 2028.
"The standard increases choice. It doesn't dictate what sort of car or ute people can buy, but will mean you have a wider range of modern and cheaper to run vehicles," she said.
Farmers for Climate Action chief executive officer Natalie Collard said there were electric utes being sold overseas with ranges of up to 800 kilometres and acceleration of up to 100km/hour in three seconds, and the organisation would like to see those utes here in Australia on the back of the new standard.
"We believe farmers and regional Australians deserve the same choice of utes, 4WDs and family cars which people living in the US and New Zealand have," Ms Collard said.
"The move will increase our choice of diesel and petrol utes and 4WDs, as well as see better electric utes finally arrive in Australia - it does not ban any car currently on the road.
"Australians deserve the ability to choose more efficient vehicles if we want, and we haven't had real choice until now. Finally, car makers in other countries won't be allowed to dump their most polluting, least fuel efficient cars in Australia now that Australia's pollution and fuel efficiency standards will be the same as other countries around the world.
"We know regional people drive further and pay more for fuel. A study by Solar Citizens, based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data on how far drivers travel, has found regional drivers are set to save $4 billion over the next five years in reduced fuel costs as more fuel-efficient car models finally become available in Australia. "
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber said the continuing preference for SUVs and utes demonstrated a challenge the government faced as it worked to introduce a New Vehicle Emissions Standard.
"Even with the current incentives offered by the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments, sales of battery electric vehicles appear to have plateaued during recent months," he said.
The government will consult on its preferred model for a month and introduce the legislation as soon as possible, with the new rules expected to come into effect by January 1 next year.
Feedback can be given until March 4 on https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/have-your-say/new-vehicle-efficiency-standard-cleaner-cheaper-run-cars-australia.