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Beijing Adds Pollution Tax To Fuel To Curb Huge Smog Problems

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Beijing Smog by Flickr user michaelhenley

Beijing Smog by Flickr user michaelhenley

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Smog-choked Chinese capital Beijing will be the first city in the country to introduce a new pollution tax.

Following months of pollution far above safe levels, major Chinese cities have scrabbled to find a solution for improving air quality.

Gasgoo reports Beijing will introduce a new tax this year, added to the cost of fuel, to dissuade drivers from using their cars quite as much, hopefully reducing pollution levels.

The city currently charges a base 17 percent tax rate for every liter of gas. To this, a fixed tax of one yuan ($0.16) is added, as well as a 0.07 percent urban construction tax and 0.03 percent education tax.

With the pollution tax included, each liter of gas will include ten yuan in taxes, or $1.62 per liter ($6.13 per gallon).

With the current taxes, a liter of gas costs around 8 yuan, or around $1.30 ($4.92/gal)--so it's easy to see how much the price of gas will increase by.

Should trials prove successful, similar taxes will be rolled out across other Chinese cities.

China has recently announced new, tougher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and Beijing has previously pledged to remove 180,000 polluting cars from its roads.

The city is also replacing 44,000 coal-burning heaters with cleaner alternatives, as smog levels reached dangerously high levels over winter. Readings on the U.S. Embassy's particulate matter scale were literally off the charts--estimates putting particulate emissions another 50 percent over the "hazardous" rating.

It remains to be seen whether heavier taxes will dissuade Beijing car owners from driving quite as much, but it's certainly a step in the right direction for one of the world's most polluted cities.

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Comments (5)
  1. It's great when environmental destruction is obvious and you don't need to argue with people.

    So taxation probably helps, but I wonder when they will have Western style EPA regulations on auto emissions.
     
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  2. They have "EPA" over there. But that agency got no "real" power in enforcing anything over there...
     
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  3. Leave it to China to try the truly capitalistic solution to smog. I just hope they tax enough types of fuel that it actually makes a difference. (Those coal-burning heaters they are replacing are as much of a problem as the cars, and there is no mention of diesel trucks.)
     
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  4. more taxes? I don't know, seems to me the quickest and cheapest thing to do would be to get cleaner burning fuel. Maybe a little , I know this is a bad word, Ethanol in the gasoline and a little biodiesel in the diesel fuel might be more effective.
     
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  5. They should offset the taxes with EV incentives
     
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