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Taiwan backtracks on diesel vehicle emissions policy

2019/03/28 22:45:47

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, March 28 (CNA) Old diesel vehicles will not be gradually phased out as long as they meet the emissions standard set in the year of their manufacture, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced Thursday, following protests over an amendment last year that mandated tighter emissions standards.

Su made the announcement after the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) unveiled a new plan to tackle air pollution caused by diesel vehicles at the Executive Yuan that day.

For about 20,000 diesel vehicles that fail to meet emission standards, Su said, the cabinet has extended the subsidy for owners to purchase new, less-polluting vehicles, according to Executive Yuan spokesperson Kolas Yotaka.

EPA Deputy Minister Chang Tzi-chin (張子敬) noted that with the improvement in diesel quality, the sulfur level in diesel fuel has been reduced from 5,000 ppm to 10 ppm.

About 50 percent of approximately 80,000 vehicles manufactured before 1993 are able to meet the Level 4 standards that came into effect on Oct. 1, 2006, Chang said.

The Level 4 standard is one of five emission standard levels for diesel trucks in Taiwan based on the age of the vehicle, with higher levels representing tighter standards.

The weakest emission standard is Level 1, which applies to vehicles produced before June 30, 1993. Level 2 to Level 5 are for vehicles produced or imported from July 1, 1993 to June 30, 1999; July 1, 1999 to Sept. 30, 2006; Oct. 1, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2011; and Jan. 1, 2012 to the present, respectively.

Another 25 percent will be able to meet the standards after making improvements and upgrades, which leaves 20,000 vehicles to be eliminated, Chang said, adding it is hoped the phasing out will be completed by 2022.

Under the original amendment, only owners of large diesel vehicles manufactured before 1993 were eligible for subsidies.

According to the EPA's new plan, owners of large diesel vehicles manufactured before 1999 can apply for subsidies for vehicle elimination, replacement or to purchase used vehicles.

The new plan also increases the maximum subsidy per vehicle from NT$350,000 (US$11,334) to NT$650,000.

The EPA will also offer subsidies for large diesel vehicles to upgrade their fuel control systems or install other pollution control equipment.

Among revisions to the Air Pollution Control Act passed last June was one that stipulated vehicles 10 years or older would be subject to stricter emission standards, without detailing the new standards that would apply or when they would be implemented.

The EPA said in a Q&A section on its website two days later that it planned to require diesel trucks 14 years and older to meet the Level 4 emission standard by 2020, angering truck drivers concerned their old vehicles would be forced out of service.

(By Ku Chuan and Chung Yu-chen)