Gasgoo.com (Shanghai July 23) - With mounting energy pressures and concerns about emissions and the environment, increasingly more focus has been put on vehicles powered by alternative forms of energy. One of these is diesels, which offer emission and fuel savings of 10% and 25%, respectively. However, diesel-powered vehicles are a very rare sight on Chinese roads, making up less than 1% of all automobiles in the country. That rate is the lowest in the world.
Steps have been taken to help promote usage of diesel vehicles in the country. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) requests that automobile manufacturers reduce the average fuel consumption rate for their domestically produced passenger automobiles to 6.9 L by the end of 2015 and then down to 5.0 L by 2020. While most manufacturers have stated that reaching the former goal will not be a problem, the latter may prove to be difficult.
This is due primarily to two reasons. First of all, there is only so much that can be done to reduce consumption rates for traditional fuel-powered vehicles. Secondly, Chinese consumers tend to prefer different types of automobiles to their European and American counterparts. Whereas smaller vehicles are more popular in Europe, Chinese consumers are more attracted to larger cars and SUVs. According to statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, sales of SUVs in the country have increased 46% over the first half of this year. A total of 2.66 million automobiles were sold in China over the first six months of the year, accounting for 26% of all automobiles sold in the country.
In order to help capitalize on upcoming trends, manufacturers are introducing new models powered by diesel vehicles. These include Great Wall, Land Rover, Dongfeng and JAC, to name a few. While there were only two diesel-powered vehicles available in the Chinese market in 2002, there is now 86 available. The MIIT has stated that diesel vehicles will play an important building block in helping China reduce its reliance on traditional fuel-powered vehicles.