China to tighten emission rules for commercial vehicles

HONG KONG: China will soon strengthen rules for greenhouse gas emissions from commercial vehicles that run on diesel fuel as part of its commitment to reducing air pollution, an industry group said on Tuesday.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said a stricter emission regulation will be imposed on diesel vehicles smaller than 3.5 tons, starting July 1. After the new standard goes into effect, the traffic authorities will not accept applications for sales or registration of vehicles that fail to meet the requirement.

The tougher standard, which is on par with emission standards in Europe, limits carbon monoxide emissions to a maximum of 0.74 grams per kilometer for light commercial vehicles.

The new rule was supposed to be introduced in 2010 but was delayed until 2011 while China’s capital city of Beijing came up with its own standard ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games.

Reducing greenhouse emissions and improving the air quality have become major issues for the Chinese authorities as the country’s growing middle class has become more conscious about the environment.

In an annual report issued in November, the Ministry of Environment Protection said emissions from motor vehicles have become the major source of air pollution in China’s large and medium-sized cities.

According to the report, the volume of pollutants generated by motor vehicles across China in 2009 amounted to 51.4 million tons, with cars creating most of it. One-third of 113 major cities failed an air quality test in 2009, the ministry said.

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