Beijing Clears The Air

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

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.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Snabster Snabster on Dec 28, 2010

    I have to wonder if the improvement is the difference between the Euro 4/5 standard or removing older cars. Just looking at the gasoline Euro 4/5 standards it doesn't look like a big jump; marginal improvement. However, older cars -- regardless of how they were made -- might have other emission problems, and I could easily believe work is not being done.