China's fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles: Rationale, policy process, and impacts
China issued its first Fuel Economy Standards (FES) for light-duty passenger vehicles (LDPV) in September 2004, and the first and second phases of the FES took effective in July 2005 and January 2008, respectively. The stringency of the Chinese FES ranks third globally, following the Japanese and European standards. In this paper, we first review the policy-making background, including the motivations, key players, and the process; and then explain the content and the features of the FES and why there was no compliance flexibility built into it. Next, we assess the various aspects of the standard's impact, including fuel economy improvement, technology changes, shift of market composition, and overall fuel savings. Lastly, we comment on the prospect of tightening the existing FES and summarize the complementary policies that have been adopted or may be considered by the Chinese government for further promoting efficient vehicles and reducing transport energy consumption. The Chinese experience is highly relevant for countries that are also experiencing or anticipating rapid growth in personal vehicles, those wishing to moderate an increase in oil demand, or those desirous of vehicle technology upgrades.
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