BEIJING Feb 6 (Reuters) - China will introduce national V standards for automotive diesel fuel by June and similar specifications for gasoline by end-2013, the government said on Wednesday, as it moves to clear up the smoggy air of many Chinese cities.
Ahead of these moves, Beijing will soon launch national IV fuel standards for automotive diesel, similar to Europe's IV quality with a sulphur content of 50 parts per million (ppm), according to a central government post on www.gov.cn, confirming an earlier Reuters report.
The new national V standards - similar to Euro V with a sulphur content no greater than 10 ppm - will become compulsory by the end of 2017, and the national IV for diesel by the end of 2014, the government said, to allow oil refiners time to upgrade their facilities and the market time to phase out old vehicles.
Once the new specifications are published, the government will allow price premiums for higher quality fuels versus lower quality ones, according to the government circular, as a motivation to oil firms to quickly start producing cleaner fuels.
Automotive diesel, burned by trucks and buses, forms just over half of China's total diesel market of about 3.6 million barrels per day. Emissions from sub-quality diesel are among the main culprits for urban air pollution.
China first introduced automotive diesel specifications - III standards - in January 2010, and they became a national mandate from June 2011.
China has been quicker to introduce cleaner gasoline, with oil companies now marketing IV petrol outside of large metropolitan areas to meet a mandate by the end of this year. (Reporting by Chen Aizhu; editing by Jane Baird)