BEIJING (AP) — China's government plans to take 6 million older, polluting vehicles off the road this year in an effort to revive stalled progress toward cleaning up smog-choked cities.
The plan also calls for filling stations in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities to switch to selling only the cleanest grades of gasoline and diesel, according to a Cabinet statement issued Monday.
The order comes after China failed to meet official pollution-reduction goals for 2011-2013, the statement said. It said vehicles registered before 2005 that fail to meet cleaner emissions standards will be "phased out," though it did not say how.
It called the country's environmental situation "extremely grim."
China's major cities are smothered in eye-searing smog. The country has some of the world's strictest emissions standards, but authorities have refrained from enforcing them until now to avoid forcing older, pollution-belching trucks off the road and hurting small businesses.
Monday's announcement suggests authorities have settled that conflict in favor of environmental protection following reports on the mounting health and economic costs of pollution.
Plans call for retiring 5 million older, polluting vehicles in Beijing, the nearby port of Tianjin and the deltas of the Yangtze River, around Shanghai, and the Pearl River, around the southern business center of Guangzhou, according to the statement. It gave no details on where the remaining 1 million vehicles due to be taken off the road were.