China to take aim at diesel vehicles in new smog push

Approximately 9.4% of China’s cars run on diesel. (Reuters pic)

SHANGHAI: China will crack down further on diesel consumption and support using rail for freight deliveries in its ongoing fight against pollution, the official China Daily said on Monday, citing the environment ministry.

Diesel trucks accounted for just 7.8% of China’s total vehicles, but contributed as much as 57.3% of the country’s total nitrogen oxide emissions and more than three-quarters of airborne particulate matter, according to data from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE).

The crackdown will strengthen scrutiny on fuel and engine quality and restrict car freight, the China Daily said, quoting ministry officials.

Total car ownership reached 310 million last year, up 5.1% compared to 2016, with diesel-fuelled vehicles accounting for 9.4% of the total, the MEE said in a report on vehicle pollution published last Friday.

It said total pollution discharges from vehicles stood at 43.6 million tonnes in 2017, down 2.5% from last year, with the bulk of the emissions consisting of carbon monoxide. It also said attention needed to be paid to the 768 gigawatts of diesel-fired agricultural equipment across the country.

In a separate statement, the ministry warned that vehicle emissions like nitrogen oxides had fallen much more slowly than others, and it promised to speed up the implementation of pollution prevention and control measures for diesel trucks.

As part of its war on pollution, China has taken more than 20 million outdated vehicles off the roads over the last five years, and the country routinely restricts traffic during smog build-ups.

It has also taken action to limit road deliveries of coal in key regions such as Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and the Yangtze River delta.

But experts have urged the country to adopt tougher measures against vehicle pollution, including congestion charges, as they bid to cut air pollution concentrations further.