China Pushes Up New Fuel Standards in Pollution Fight, News Says

China's Pollution
Vehicles sit in traffic along an expressway in Beijing. China has been struggling to fight pollution, a byproduct of the nation’s high-speed economic growth over the past 30 years, as dirty air and water persist as a source of public discontent. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

China pushed up the adoption of cleaner fuel standards as the government increases efforts to curb pollution, China Business News reported Wednesday.

The nation will adopt a fuel standard that caps sulfur content in gasoline and diesel at 10 parts per million by the end of 2016, one year ahead of an original deadline set by the State Council, China Business News reported, citing an unidentified source. The criterion is the same as in Europe.

Two calls to the Standardization Administration of China, which is in charge of fuel standards, went unanswered.

China has been struggling to fight pollution, a byproduct of the nation’s high-speed economic growth over the past 30 years, as dirty air and water persist as a source of public discontent. President Xi Jinping pledged in March at the annual session of the National People’s Congress to punish violators of the nation’s environmental laws with an “iron hand.”

Refiners and government agencies often don’t see eye-to-eye as companies struggle to pass on billions of yuan of fuel upgrade costs to end-consumers as retail prices are set by the government. China Petrochemical Corp., the nation’s top refiner, said it will spend 30 billion yuan ($4.8 billion) a year upgrading fuel quality while China National Petroleum Corp., will spend 15 billion yuan for the same effort.

China is currently studying stricter fuel standards, Cao Xianghong, director of China’s petrochemical standards committee, said in March.

— With assistance by Sarah Chen

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