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Majority of Australians keen to switch from gas to electric to lower emissions, survey finds

Poll reveals 65% of drivers expect to be buying a hybrid or electric vehicle if they upgrade in the next 10 years

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Australians are positive about switching to electric appliances and cite environmental concerns as a leading motivation, a survey has found Photograph: Juan Algar/Getty Images

The majority of Australians feel positive about switching off the gas and turning to cleaner energy options, with environmental reasons one of the biggest drivers behind the shift, according to new research by the Australia Institute and research firm SEC Newgate.

In a poll about electrification, 55% felt positively about electrifying more homes, with 59% mentioning environmental reasons as a main driver of their opinion and 18% pointing to the potential for cheaper electricity bills.

Of those polled, 13% said they felt negatively about electrifying more homes.

When asked which appliances they wanted in their homes, electric heating, ovens and hot water won out convincingly over their gas counterparts. Respondents were more divided on cooktops, with 46% preferring electric to 43% who chose gas.

Of those who expected to buy a new car within 10 years, 25% said they expected it would be an electric car and 40% expected it to be a hybrid car. For those who had already bought or were considering an EV, environmental benefits, reduced running costs and the increasing cost of petrol and diesel were among the top motivators.

Noah Schultz-Byard from the Australia Institute said the Albanese government could support the shift in attitude by assisting the electrification of households.

“With electric technology now readily available, the biggest barrier to making that switch is the upfront cost of transition,” he said. “This is where the government could come in and support those families who want to go electric.

“This data shines a light on the policy pathway forward. Electric homes, cars and appliances underpinned by clean energy and battery storage will play a key role in confronting our economic and environmental concerns.

“Combining electric homes, battery storage and vehicles will open up a range of benefits for households and our research has shown that Australians are ready to make the switch.”

The Victorian government announced a gas substitution roadmap to try to meet its target of reducing carbon emissions by 75% by 2030. As part of that, homes are being encouraged to switch from gas to electricity, with the state the largest consumer of gas in Australia.

Gas is touted as a cleaner energy source when compared to coal-fired power, but studies have found its effect on the climate is increased when factors such as methane leaks during extraction and transport are included.

The Albanese government has made much of its election promise to “rewire the nation” but has maintained that gas will play an important role in Australia’s energy transition, even as it was forced to intervene in the market as power prices skyrocketed.

The treasurer, Jim Chalmers, held an investment roundtable on Friday to explore renewable energy opportunities with major banks, financiers and investment managers. He has promised next month’s budget would include major investments in “cleaner and cheaper” energy.

Schultz-Byard said with support for EVs and electrification growing, the government had an opportunity to get ahead of the curve.

“Australians understand that electrification doesn’t just result in a safer climate for the next generation, but that it can also help them to make ends meet in the near term,” he said.


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