Wednesday, May 27, 2009

China Rumored to be Implementing Strict Fuel-Economy Standards

China's calls itself the "most business friendly country in the world (others would beg to differ)," and China seems intent to follow one business maxim with energy: doing more with less.

The new plan would require automakers in China to improve fuel economy by an additional 18 percent by 2015, said An Feng, a leading architect of China’s existing fuel economy regulations who is now the president of the Innovation Center for Energy and Transportation, a nonprofit group in Beijing.

The plan is going through the interagency approval process, with comments sought from automakers, and is scheduled for release early next year, he said.

The average fuel economy of family vehicles in China is already higher than in the United States, mainly because cars in China tend to be considerably
smaller than those in the United States — and are getting even smaller because of recent tax changes.

Cars with small fuel-sipping engines are now subject to a 1 percent tax, while sports cars and sport utility vehicles with the largest engines are subject to a 40 percent tax. Stricter fuel economy standards have won support from four interest groups within the Chinese government, said a Chinese government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue.


China uses a different system from the United States to regulate fuel economy. China sets minimum standards for each of 16 weight categories and tests only urban fuel economy, not highway driving.

Adjusted for these differences, the average new car, minivan or sport utility vehicle in China already gets the equivalent of 35.8 miles a gallon this year based on the American measurement system of corporate averages and will be required to get 42.2 miles a gallon in 2015, Mr. An said.By comparison, President Obama announced last week that each automaker will be required to reach a corporate average of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.

The details of China’s new fuel economy standards may favor domestic automakers at the expense of multinationals, several auto industry officials said. That is because the new rules call for the steepest increases in fuel economy — as much as 26 percent — for midsize and compact cars, market segments where multinationals are strong. Subcompacts, a market where domestic automakers are stronger, will be required to increase their gas mileage by as little as 9 percent compared with the existing standards, which took effect on Jan. 1.

- Brewskie


  1. It will be fascinating to watch the development of battery cars in China. Another possibility is that China will simply mandate BEV or PHEVs at some point.
    Part of the doomster scenario has been "huge demand from China means eternal energy shortages."
    What if the huge demand from China never materializes, as they go to PHEVs and BEVs?
    Meanwhile, oil demand is falling all over the developed world.
    Between natural gas (a glut for generations ahead) and very high mpg cars, I just dont see any proboems with oi. In fact, if I were an oil-producer,my concern would be to head off these superior alternatives.

  2. A worthy thing to remember is that the current and past several world powers climbed to their ascension because of their frenzy energy of taking advantage of superior energy resources of their time: the Dutch with wind, the British with coal and the US with oil. The Chinese are adamant about developing electric car-friendly infrastructure; aside from their unlimited appetite for growth, their strong currency reserves, their excellent position in particular to Central Asia's vast resources and their preferred diplomatic standing with many resource-rich nations, common sense seems to indicate China is poised to reclaim its mantle of the world's central power.

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