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553 cars banned in China over excess emissions

by Ronan Glon

The government is taking China\'s smog problem seriously.

The Chinese government has issued a stop-sale order for 553 cars that don't meet fuel economy regulations. The order will come into effect on January 1st, 2018.

The list of the 553 cars banned from the world's largest new car market hasn't been released to the public yet. It includes models from Chevrolet, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz, according to Autoblog.

553 sounds like a lot but it's important to remember between 130 and 150 auto-makers wrestle for dominance of the Chinese market. Cui Dongshu, the secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association, told Bloomberg 553 is a "very small" percentage of the passenger cars currently in production.

The looming ban is the government's latest move to curb air pollution. It has also restricted steel production and coal usage, and it promised to gradually phase out the internal combustion engine. Gasoline-powered scooters have become a rare sight in China; an overwhelming majority of two-wheelers now run on electricity.

China's air quality still isn't on par with Norway's, and it probably never will be, but it has improved drastically during the 2010s. Your author even saw clear blue skies in Beijing for an afternoon in 2016. Analysts suggest China no longer has the worst air in the world.

"At the national level, India tops the index rankings, followed by Bangladesh and Thailand," affirmed Richard Hewston, the global head of environment and climate change at risk consultancy firm Verisk Maplecroft. He added the air in New Delhi, the Indian capital, has become much worse than in Beijing.

Note: Traffic in Shanghai in April of 2017 shown. Photo by Ronan Glon.

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