Beijing is serious about clearing the air. According to China Daily, the city is planning to require adherence to the Euro 5 standard for all vehicles by 2012.
In Europe, Euro 5 had gone in effect in September 2009, but only for new vehicles. Beijing switched to the Euro 4 requirement for all cars in January 2008, long before the standard became mandatory for all of China. So-called “yellow plate cars” – stinkers that were issued a yellow tag because the were not up to code, were banned from the streets. If you drive into the city with an out-of town car, prepare yourself for an emission test. These measures did much to improve the previously unbearable air quality. In Beijing, I can now see as far as the mountains, and at night, I see stars which I thought had left.
By going from Euro 4 to Euro 5, the city expects a further improvement of air quality by 30 to 50 percent. As a nice side effect, it will help Beijing’s beleaguered car dealers sell more cars. Many plan to go out of business because the city limited the issuance if license plates to new cars to 240,000. However, if you already own a car, your new plate is guaranteed and does not count against the contingent. The step from Euro 4 to Euro 5 means a mass extinction of stinkers.