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Discussion paper
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Over a barrel: addressing Australia’s liquid fuel security

Electric vehicles Fuel security Transport infrastructure Australia

Australia is almost entirely reliant on imports of refined fuels and crude to meet consumption. In FY2021, 91 per cent of all fuel consumed in Australia was imported. This includes 68 per cent imported as refined crude, while 71 per cent of fuel refined in Australia is imported as crude and condensate.

Fuel security has decreased over the last decade. Five Australian refineries have closed over the last decade leaving only two Australian refineries in operation - Ampol’s Lytton refinery and Viva’s Geelong refinery.

Three quarters (73 per cent) of Australia’s total liquid fuel demand is consumed by the transport sector and over half (54 per cent) is consumed by road transport alone. Previous government approaches to fuel security have focused on supply-side issues - rarely have demand-side solutions been considered. However, it is only through moving to electric vehicles and increasing mode shift to public transport, cycling and walking that our reliance on imported fuel will decrease significantly. The sooner this happens, the more secure Australia will be.

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