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New limits set on car fuel consumption
By Zhao Huanxin (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-31 22:50

Designers of new Chinese vehicles are being urged to stoke the country's energy austerity drive by meeting the nation's first standards that cap fuel consumption for passenger cars.

The compulsory "Limits of Fuel Consumption for Passenger Cars," to be enacted by July 1, aims to cut litres per 100 kilometres by up to 10 per cent by 2008 in the first stage, Director of Standardization Administration of China Li Zhonghai said on Thursday.

The second stage, which starts in 2008, requires vehicle fuel consumption to drop by another 10 per cent from the first phase level, he said.

The national statute, following a string of standards that began in September to place ceilings on industrial water and electricity use, showed the country is increasingly economizing on resources through technical means, experts said.

Speaking at a seminar to promote the country's first standards on passenger car fuel efficiency, Li said gasoline-burning cars are seriously fouling the air in urban areas and consuming a third of China's crude oil imports.

Xu Bamin, a senior engineer of the China Automobile Technology and Research Centre, Sunday said fuel consumption by Chinese cars manufactured before 2001 is 20 per cent to 30 per cent higher than their foreign counterparts.

Mindful of the disparity and determined to improve air quality, China has been working to draw up its fuel consumption standards since 2001, according to Xu.

Based on a sophisticated measurement method, the national standards detail the limits of fuel consumption for new car models with a weight below 3.5 tons and a minimum speed of 50 kilometres per hour. That standards must be met by 2008.

For example, a light-duty vehicle with complete kurb mass between 1.2 tons and 1.3 tons should be designed to consume no more than 9.5 litres of fuel for each 100 kilometres on average before 2008.

Chinese passenger cars developed by then are expected to meet the world's average level in 2002 in terms of fuel consumption, Xu said.

From 2008, the limit is lowered to 8.6 litres.

The current limits apply only to new models of passenger cars -- with a maximum of nine seats -- to be designed in China, Xu said.

When new designs are certified by competent authorities as complying to national fuel standards, manufacturers then can begin mass production of models as long as they continue to meet the standards.

For cars designed in the past and now under manufacturing, a one-year grace period to meet the standards will be granted.

Li Ying, an executive of the Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive Co Ltd, said the car maker will factor in the fuel consumption limits while designing and developing new passenger cars.

Models introduced by Shanghai Volkswagen after 1999, including Passat, Polo and Touran cars, can well meet the national fuel consumption requirements for the second phase (after 2008), Li said.

To promote efficient use of fuel and control escalating energy consumption, the country will also issue standards on fuel efficiency of other types of vehicles in the years to come, said Li Zhonghai of Standardization Administration of China.

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