China is joining France and Britain in announcing plans to end sales of gasoline and diesel cars, AP reports. China's industry ministry is developing a timetable to end production and sale of traditional fuel cars and will promote development of electric technology, state media on Sunday cited a Cabinet official as saying. The reports gave no possible target date, but Beijing is stepping up pressure on automakers to accelerate development of electrics. China is the biggest auto market by number of vehicles sold, giving any policy changes outsize importance for the global industry. France and Britain announced in July they will stop sales of gasoline and diesel automobiles by 2040 as part of efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.
China passed the United States last year as the biggest electric car market. Sales of electrics and gasoline-electric hybrids rose 50 percent over 2015 to 336,000 vehicles, or 40 percent of global demand. US sales totaled 159,620. Beijing has supported electric development with billions of dollars in research subsidies and incentives to buyers, but is switching to a quota system that will shift the financial burden to automakers. Under the proposed quotas, electric and hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles would have to make up 8 percent of each automaker's output next year, 10 percent in 2019, and 12 percent in 2020. Automakers that fail to meet their target could buy credits from competitors that have a surplus. (Read more China stories.)