LCQ11: Diesel private cars

     Following is a question by the Hon Miriam Lau Kin-yee and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at the Legislative Council meeting today (March 2):


     Quite a number of members of the trade have indicated that in order to improve roadside air quality by reducing the concentrations of particulates and nitrogen oxides in the air, the Government began to tighten the emission standards for vehicles as early as in 1997, and launched grant/concessionary schemes one after another for environment-friendly petrol private cars as well as liquefied petroleum gas ("LPG") taxis and public light buses, to gradually replace diesel vehicles that emit large quantities of particulates and nitrogen oxides; yet, members of the trade have pointed out that in recent years, some diesel private cars have already met the emission standards specified by the Government and have successfully been issued licences. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the emission standards adopted in Hong Kong at present for diesel private cars, and whether any vehicle manufacturer has successfully manufactured diesel private cars which meet the standards set by the Government and have been granted approval for introduction into Hong Kong; and the number of diesel private cars which have been issued licences at present;

(b) whether it will include diesel private cars which meet the emission standards in the existing tax incentives scheme which encourages car owners to opt for environment-friendly petrol vehicles in order to improve air quality; if yes, of the details of the scheme; if not, the reasons for that; and

(c) given the frequent occurrence of stalling incidents involving LPG taxis in recent years, whether the Government will consider afresh the introduction of diesel taxis which have been improved to become more environment-friendly, so as to provide the market with an additional choice; if yes, of the details of the plan; if not, the reasons for that?



(a) Respirable suspended particulates (RSP) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from diesel vehicles are the major sources of roadside air pollution in Hong Kong. To improve roadside air quality, the Environmental Protection Department has required that the emission performance of newly registered diesel private cars in respect of RSP and NOx should be on a par with their petrol counterparts since 1998. To achieve this requirement, we have adopted the US Californian emission standards (which are the most stringent in the world) for newly registered diesel private cars.

     Since 2009, some European vehicle manufacturers have put on the local market models of diesel private cars that meet the above standards. As at December 31, 2010, there were about 1,900 licensed diesel private cars, of which about 230 were newly registered in or after 2009.

(b) The qualifying standards for environment-friendly petrol private cars include emission standards and fuel efficiency. Their hydrocarbons (HC) and NOx emissions must not exceed 50% of the upper limit of Euro IV emission standards, and their fuel efficiency must surpass that of petrol private cars in the same weight category by at least 40%.

     The technology of controlling particulate and NOx emissions of petrol private cars is more advanced than that of their diesel counterparts. As for the three models of diesel private car currently available on the local market, they can comply with the emission requirements for newly registered diesel private cars. However, since there remains a considerable gap in emission level when compared with the qualifying standards of environment-friendly petrol private cars, the diesel private cars cannot comply with the relevant emission standards.

(c) In connection with the LPG vehicle stalling incidents, the government has conducted sampling checks on the quality of LPG since January 2010. The test results indicated that all LPG samples would not affect the performance of LPG vehicles.  LPG vehicles can operate normally through regular maintenance.

     Currently, the emission control performance of LPG vehicles far outstrips that of diesel vehicles. Therefore, the Government has no plan to re-introduce diesel taxis at the moment. We will continue to closely monitor the development of environment-friendly vehicles so as to facilitate the early introduction of environment-friendly taxis by the trade.

Ends/Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Issued at HKT 14:49