China, the country known around the world
for its pollution and smog as well as emitting 26% of the world's CO2
, is looking to take a whopping 6 million vehicles off the roads this year to clean up its skies, in a new plan brought to light by an AP article
Ironically, just months after we wrote
about Earth Day and why the U.S. switches to cleaner burning summer gasoline (having cited China's high pollution for an example of why), Chinese officials have said they will mirror U.S. policy by themselves switching to cleaner burning gasoline and diesel fuels.
Like U.S. EPA policy that requires this nation's largest cities to burn even cleaner summer gasoline than other areas (called Reformulated Gasoline), China has said gas stations in more populated cities like Beijing and Shanghai will switch to selling only the cleanest grades of diesel and gasoline.
This new plan comes after China failed to meet its own pollution reduction goals for the past few years. Authorities said vehicles registered before 2005 that fail to meet cleaner emissions requirements will be "phased out", but it did not its plans to do so.
While China boasts some of the world's strictest emissions standards, it rarely enforces them to avoid hurting commerce and smaller businesses. The plan unveiled leads to the assumption that smog and pollution concerns now outweigh the negative stigma surrounding the elevated pollution levels and health issues that arise from it.
Up to five million vehicles in the capital city of Beijing will be retired, according to the plan, but did not offer other locations for where older cars will be removed. While the six million vehicle total may sound sizable, it makes up just 2.5% of the total number of registered vehicles in China.
China has also recently instituted CAFE-like standards to make sure new vehicles also meet rising fuel efficiency standards, which would also mean lower emissions, as less fuel is consumed.