China should widely use diesel engines to release the bottleneck in energy supply and demand brought about by accelerating fuel consumption, said the All-China Environment Federation in a proposal presented last Wednesday to the current National People's Congress being held in Beijing.
The country is facing a growing problem of resource and energy shortage and environmental pollution. Rapid development of the automobile industry has presented new challenges to fuel supply. Experience at home and abroad shows that wide application of diesel and development of diesel cars will help China effectively implement a national energy safety strategy and push forward construction of a resource-saving and environmentally friendly society.
The ACEF pointed out that between 2001 and 2002, General Motors of the United States, British Petroleum, Exxon and Shell conducted a study named Well to Wheel Analysis in Europe and North America. According to the findings, a diesel car consumes 2.01 million joule of energy per kilometre while a similar gasoline-powered car consumes 2.64 million joule of energy per kilometre.
Statistics showed that if the proportion of diesel cars in the United States increased by 20 per cent, it could save 350,000 barrels of oil every day.
Currently in Europe and the United States, more than 50 per cent of passenger cars coming on the road are diesel engine cars and almost all commercial vehicles newly in service have diesel engines.
Research indicates that if 20 per cent of the cars in China are diesel, the country can save about 19 million tons of oil every year.
Emission levels of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon discharged by diesel cars are also distinctly lower than those from gasoline cars. Especially, the discharge of carbon dioxide by a diesel car is about 40 per cent lower than by a gasoline car.
In the past decade, new diesel engine technology has also greatly reduced particulate discharge by diesel cars. Black smoke, high noise and vibration associated with diesel cars are no longer an issue.
In addition, the diesel engine is more economical than its gasoline counterpart. According to a recent survey, a taxi driver who bought a diesel engine car three years ago earned about 70,000 yuan (US$8,706.5) more than a driver who bought a gasoline engine version of the same car.
Things to do
The China National Petroleum Corporation and China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation are able to produce diesel of US and European standard. However, diesel quality in China is still low, and the ACEF emphasized the following reasons in its proposal.
First, diesel has long been restricted to farm use and the government has so far adopted a low-price protective policy, making high-quality diesel production infeasible. Second, under the current restrictive development policy for diesel engines, particularly diesel cars, there is a lack of market demand stimulation. Third, the traditional bias against diesel engines, especially the diesel car, due to lack of correct information.
All these reasons have led to enterprises losing interest in production of diesel, especially high quality diesel.
In comparison, China's diesel engine production technology owns more self-developed intellectual property rights than gasoline engine production technology and is close to international levels. The seven major automobile diesel engine producers who account for more than 90 per cent of the domestic market share have many achievements to their credit.
In December 2004, Guangxi Yuchai Group successfully developed YC4W751-31 sedan car diesel engines. Kunming Yunnei Power Co Ltd also developed D16TCI D19TCI sedan car diesel engines last year. Chery Automobile has started its development of diesel engines. Besides, Shanghai General Motors and FAW-Volkswagen are both able to produce business-use diesel engines that meet Euro Three Standard.
However, the ACEF said in its proposal that, China urgently needs to attack the following issues to accelerate development and use of the diesel engine car.
Actively promote the diesel engine and the energy saving, eco- friendly and economy features of the diesel-powered sedan car.
Eliminate all the current policies and regulations that restrict development of diesel engine sedan car and other diesel-powered vehicles. Study and work out industrial policies and technological and economic policies for developing diesel engine car.
Strengthen research, development and application of diesel engine production technology and make it a major component of the national automobile development strategy in the 11th Five-Year Programme (2006-10) and medium- and long-term plans.
Work out and implement financial and tax policy in favour of diesel and diesel engine sedan car production as well as preferential policies for oil enterprises to produce high quality diesel and for consumers to buy diesel engine sedan car.
Strengthen supervision and management of fuel production and oil quality.
(China Daily 03/13/2006 page8)
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