6M Cars Being Yanked From Road to Ease Pollution

Beijing restarts effort to clean up 'extremely grim' situation

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted May 27, 2014 10:43 AM CDT

(Newser) – China's government plans to take 6 million older, polluting vehicles off the road this year in an effort to revive stalled progress toward cleaning up smog-choked cities. The plan also calls for filling stations in Beijing, Shanghai, and other major cities to switch to selling only the cleanest grades of gasoline and diesel, according to a Cabinet statement issued yesterday. The order comes after China failed to meet official pollution-reduction goals for 2011-2013. The statement said vehicles registered before 2005 that fail to meet cleaner emissions standards will be "phased out," though it did not say how.

It called the country's environmental situation "extremely grim." China's major cities are smothered in eye-searing smog. The country has some of the world's strictest emissions standards, but authorities have refrained from enforcing them until now to avoid forcing older, pollution-belching trucks off the road and hurting small businesses. Yesterday's announcement suggests authorities have settled that conflict in favor of environmental protection. China has about 240 million vehicles on the road, and half are passenger cars.

In this photo taken Monday, April 25, 2011, cars clog a main road in Beijing, China. China plans to take 6 million older, polluting vehicles off the road this year to clean up smog-choked cities.   (Ng Han Guan)
The skyline of the Lujiazui Financial District with the high-rise buildings is covered with heavy smog in Pudong in Shanghai, China, Monday, Dec. 9, 2013.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Residents walk past a parking lot packed with vehicles in Beijing, China, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A man and a car traveling on a road are obscured in heavy haze on a severely polluted day in Pingshan county of Shijiazhuang, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014.   (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
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