2016 BYD Tang plug-in hybrid SUV, made in ChinaEnlarge Photo
China has taken a major step toward cleaning up the new cars sold in the country beginning January 1.
As numerous countries debate plans to end sales of fossil-fuel vehicles completely at points in the future, China has now forced the end of production for some 553 models, starting Monday.
The vehicles, from a wide range of automakers, can no longer legally be sold because they exceed fuel-consumption limits.
According to a Bloomberg report later confirmed by Chinese state media outlet Xinhua, the China Vehicle Technology Service Center said last Thursday sales of the offending Chinese-market vehicles would cease as of the new year.
(Neither outlet offers a link to the official list of vehicles, nor were we able to source a list from another outlet or any Chinese government agency website.)
The move is the latest effort by the government to curb pollution in a nation that's now simultaneously the world's largest polluter and the world's largest car market.
BYD Qin EV300Enlarge Photo
The 553 models represent just a small portion of the vehicles sold in the country, reports Bloomberg.
In September, Chinese government officials began "research on formulating a timetable to stop production and sales of traditional energy vehicles" in the country, it said.
At the start of December, authorities warned they would introduce stricter emission limits on new motor vehicles while continuing to incentivize electric vehicles.
The severe air pollution in most of China's major cities comes from a variety of sources, including motor vehicles, industrial production, and electric power generation.
With no domestic oil supplies, the country must import the majority of the gasoline used to power its surging vehicle fleet.
And it has long been official government-industrial policy to dominate the world's supply of photovoltaic solar cells, lithium-ion battery cells, and electric cars.
The new fuel-economy rules are just one small aspect of the country's effort toward realizing those long-term goals.