There’s no nice way to say it: the air pollution in China is bad. The problem is so severe, in fact, that the Chinese government decided to slash number of new cars people can put on the road and has even contemplated instituting the death penalty to curb pollution, with little effect. In a bid to take some of the most heavily-polluting vehicles (heavy-duty diesels) off the road, Beijing says it will replace 80 percent of its gov’t-owned buses with new-energy and clean-fuel vehicles by the end of 2017.
“A total of 13,825 buses, including 4,058 electrically powered and 7,185 running on natural gas, will replace gas and diesel,” said the Beijing Commission of Transport last week, when asked about specifics. The Commission has also pledged to further develop bus routes and sway more commuters using private cars to use public transportation.
Nan Tao, head of the bus company’s service bureau, was quoted by China Daily as saying that the plan reduce petroleum-based fuel consumption by 150,000 tons a year, and cut harmful particulate emissions by 60%. That should go a long way towards accomplishing the city’s goal of reducing of auto emissions by 50% by the end of 2017 … which would, you know, still make Beijing’s air quality worse than Los Angeles’, but you take a win when you can get it, right? Right!