Yellow-Carded Vehicles Banned from Beijing's Streets

Dirty vehicles will be banned from entering downton Beijing. Photo by rstadler.

To control pollution from a growing population of 3.7 million cars, Beijing today began prohibiting high-emission vehicles from entering the city limits. This latest measure is part of an ongoing plan to improve Beijing’s air quality post-Olympics. While high-emission cars and trucks only comprise 28 percent of all vehicles in China, they are responsible for 75 percent of air pollutant emissions, according to Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) Official Li Xinmin.

The strategy to eliminate these high-emitting vehicles is to identify offending vehicles, restrict their movement, and encourage their removal through monetary incentives. High-emitting vehicles are defined in China as gasoline vehicles that fail to meet the China emissions tandard I, which is equivalent to the Euro I standard that allows an average sedan to emit a maximum of 2.7 grams of carbon monoxide per kilometer. In a “name and shame” strategy, cars below this standard are branded “yellow-label vehicles” and given a fitting yellow environmental windshield sticker, while those meeting the standard are given green labels. Starting today, these yellow vehicles will be denied entry along or inside Beijing’s fifth-ring road.


Beijing is not the only city in China to have such programs to eliminate high-emission vehicles from their roads. Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen also have similar initiatives.

For more details on Beijing and China’s plans to continue phasing-out high-emitting vehicles, check out this comprehensive piece written by Vance Wagner, a friend of mine who works in the transportation emissions division of the MEP.

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