China spends up on alternative-energy cars

China's motor vehicle numbers are expected to triple in the next eight years posing a monumentally destructive threat. Photo / Supplied
China's motor vehicle numbers are expected to triple in the next eight years posing a monumentally destructive threat. Photo / Supplied

Air quality in all of the 32 Chinese cities that track pollution falls short of World Health Organisation guidelines. Beijing is among the world's most polluted cities.

China's government will spend as much as 2 billion yuan ($413 million) a year to develop alternative-energy vehicles to reduce fuel consumption, the finance ministry said today.

It will also promote using buses with hybrid engines in major cities, said Vice-Finance Minister Zhang Shaochun on the ministry's website. Agencies and companies that provide public services, such as car rental firms, will be encouraged to use alternative-energy vehicles in 25 trial cities, he said.

A projected tripling in vehicle numbers by 2020 will increase the country's demand for fossil fuel and add to its air pollution. China buys more than half its crude oil from overseas and is the world's second-largest importer of oil after the US.

Air quality in all of the 32 Chinese cities that track pollution falls short of World Health Organisation guidelines. Beijing is among the world's most polluted cities.

The finance ministry urged cities to exempt alternative-energy vehicles from restrictions on the issue of licence plates and limiting the use of cars to certain days.

Municipal authorities should also introduce preferential policies for parking, electricity rates and highway tolls, while speeding up construction of charging stations, according to the statement.

Automakers, including General Motors Volkswagen and BYD, have announced plans to introduce hybrids or electric vehicles in China.

- Bloomberg

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