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68 days: Australia’s fuel supply a ‘national security problem’

·2-min read
A sign at a petrol station showing different fuel prices and a person in the background filling up their tank.
A new report found Australia only has enough fuel supply for 68 days. (Source: Getty)

Australia is facing a fuel supply problem with only enough to last the country 68 days, despite a requirement by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to hold at least a 90-day supply.

A new research report by The Australia Institute revealed Australia had only increased its reliance on imported transport fuels since the Federal Government released its interim Liquid Fuel Security Report in early 2019.

The research found Australia’s transport fuels were highly vulnerable to international prices and supply chains, while demand-side solutions - particularly the electrification of transportation - had been ignored.

The report found 91 per cent of Australia’s fuel consumption was reliant on imports from other countries.

“Australia has a national security problem when it comes to transport fuels,” Richie Merzian, climate and energy director at The Australia Institute, said.

“It’s worrying that Australia is almost entirely reliant on foreign oil for fuel consumption, leaving it ill-prepared to deal with international disruptions.

“It should concern every Australian that 91 per cent of Australia’s fuel – like petrol and diesel – is linked to imports and most of that is used for transportation.”

The report said the Ukrainian War and Western Europe’s reliance on Russian oil, gas and coal had dramatically highlighted the linking of economic security and international security.

“The Federal Government failed to deliver its final Liquid Fuel Security Review in 2019 and, since then, Australia has become more, not less, fuel insecure,” Merzian said.

“High petrol prices are already hurting Australians. The only long-term solution is getting off oil. This involves increasing fuel efficiency and transitioning to electric vehicles.”

The Australia Institute found that if all passenger vehicles in Australia were pure electric vehicles, 33 per cent of imported oil could be replaced with domestic electricity.

“Australia is an international laggard when it comes to fuel efficiency,” Merzian said.

“Weak fuel standards and an absence of a national electric vehicle policy leave Australia among the least-fuel-efficient fleets in the OECD, and far behind the rest of the world in electric vehicle uptake.”

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