The NRMA says Australia is lagging way behind in the adoption of low-emission vehicles.

The major Australian motoring body has gone so far as to suggest a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars as early as 2025.

The UK and France have begun the process of phasing-out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, while nations including Germany and China say they intend to follow a similar path.

NRMA CEO Rohan Lund says Australia should take heed.

“If anything, our targets here need to be a bit more aggressive than what we're seeing in other markets,” he told the ABC.

“I would expect to start seeing targets that are between 2025, 2030 for banning [the sale of new] petrol-driven cars in this country.

“We don't manufacture cars here — we're recipients of the cars coming from Europe and from Asia.

“I think in many ways we won't have a choice in this country.”

Volvo says it will no longer design combustion engine-only cars after this year, and will build electric versions of all its 300 models by 2030.

In Australia, electric cars make up about 0.2 per cent of annual new car sales.

But with transport making up about 19 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions, changing the way we move could be useful step towards meeting Paris Agreement reduction targets.  

Dr Rebecca Michael, head of public policy for Queensland motoring body RACQ, said transport should play a role in meeting the Paris Agreement goals, if there is a clear government policy.

“When we look at Paris, the Government hasn't set what emissions reductions are for transport,” she said.

“There is an unspoken imperative that we need to do more, but what does that look like?

“The Government needs to put certainty on those [Paris] targets — we've signed up to an agreement and we've gone silent.

“Doing nothing is not an option, we are not going to get there by accident.”