China Puts Teeth Into Gas-Mileage Rules, Will 'Punish' Makers Who Don't Comply


2014 Volvo S60L production in China

2014 Volvo S60L production in China

Several countries are implementing stricter fuel-efficiency standards, but none appear to be enforcing them as strictly as China.

Perhaps thinking U.S.-style fines were too lenient, the country that is now the world's largest new-car market will "punish" carmakers who don't comply with upcoming gas-mileage rules.

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China will restrict production and publicly name the automakers who fail to meet fuel-economy targets for 2015, Reuters reports.

Audi Q3 Trans China Tour 2011

Audi Q3 Trans China Tour 2011

The tougher fuel-efficiency standards require carmakers to achieve a fleet average of 34 mpg by 2015, and 47 mpg by 2017.

Carmakers that can't meet those goals will be identified publicly, and won't be allowed to produce new models in China that don't help them meet the new fuel-efficiency standards.

The government will also reject any expansion plans those companies might have, all of which are subject to official approval.

Chinese officials hope these punitive measures will ensure compliance and encourage carmakers to build more fuel-efficient, hybrid, and electric cars.

China has set a goal of putting half a million "new energy vehicles"--including battery-electric, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen fuel-cell cars--on its roads by 2015, and 5 million by 2020.

Venucia E30 (Chinese version of Nissan Leaf electric car), Guangzhou Auto Show [photo: ChinaAutoWeb]

Venucia E30 (Chinese version of Nissan Leaf electric car), Guangzhou Auto Show [photo: ChinaAutoWeb]

While there hasn't been much progress on that front, the majority of carmakers is still expected to meet the 2015 efficiency requirement, theoretically making punishment unnecessary.

Still, of 85 carmakers surveyed last year, about 30 percent failed to meet the 2013 target.

The offenders were mostly domestic brands, but there were also 13 non-compliant foreign brands, including General Motors, Hyundai, Nissan, and Porsche.

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Punishments only apply to carmakers who can't meet the 2015 and 2020 standards, though, and it will be interesting to see if the threat has any effect on that 30-percent figure.

This is the latest attempt by Chinese regulators to reduce emissions and improve air quality. Other policies have included restricting car sales, and large incentives for electric cars.

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