SHANGHAI Feb 7 China's cabinet has issued a
timetable for oil companies to deliver cleaner fuel nationwide
beginning this year, the Xinhua news agency reported, but the
new standards won't become mandatory for four years despite
rising public anger over choking air pollution.
Thick smog has blanketed many Chinese cities in recent weeks
and auto emissions are among the major contributors to the
A new standard will be issued for automobile petrol that
caps sulfur content within 10 parts per million (ppm) before the
end of the year, with a grace period extending to the end of
2017, Xinhua said after an executive meeting of the State
Council that was chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao.
Beijing is so far the only city in China to have adopted
such a standard, equal to Europe's Euro V, it said in a report
late on Wednesday.
Excessive pollution levels have prompted the Beijing
government to roll out a series of temporary emergency measures,
such as shutting down 103 heavily polluting factories and taking
30 percent of government vehicles off roads. Despite those
steps, the capital's air has remained hazardous on many days.
A new standard for automobile diesel that would limit sulfur
content to within 10 ppm will come before June this year but
will also have the same four-year grace period, Xinhua said.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision,
Inspection and Quarantine and the Standardization Administration
would soon issue a transitional standard for automobile diesel
with sulphuric content within 50 ppm that would expire at the
end of 2014.
Cleaner fuel may also mean higher prices. The cabinet said
prices should be "fixed properly" and subsidies should be given
to disadvantaged people and non-profit organisations.
Analysts say foot dragging by China's highly influential
state oil companies, which will need to upgrade refining
equipment to meet the new standards, has contributed to the
(Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Ken Wills)