Air pollution in Beijing and fuel quality

Fuel quality is a much overlooked issue. Beijing tries to enforce higher fuel standards but gasoline and diesel fuel sold in other locations is often of a very poor quality, not only affecting pollution but also messing up the engines and exhaust systems of the newer cars. Some famous brand cars can simply break down because of the bad fuel and then the brands are attacked for being “of poor quality”. Things that need to be done: reduce the power of the big oil companies, enforce quality and adjust fuel prices.
Beijing has been having some really bad, bad days with its air pollution. Today we were again at AQI levels of over 400 for some time. It does not help we have now in the city 5.2 million vehicles, increasing at 200,000 per year. In 2008 we had 3.13 million.
As far as I understand, transport in the city is responsible for about half of the pollution (car exhaust, dust, etc.). According to estimates, 20% of the pollution comes from coal burning, 20% comes neighboring provinces and 25% from vehicle emissions.
The big oil companies are dragging their feet as it requires big investments. In Beijing sulphur content is supposed to be under 50 ppm; neigboring provinces are at 150 pp. Then we have diesel with 2,000 ppm. So, the bad air comes to Beijing and cars outside of the city face breakdowns.
See more about it:
“State-owned oil companies in firing line over Beijing’s pollution”
Ministries are almost powerless to enforce air quality standards amid state-owned entities’ influence and their quest to keep costs down
4 February, 2013 – Reuters in Beijing – SCMP
“The search for culprits behind the rancid haze enveloping Beijing has turned the spotlight on the mainland’s two largest oil companies and their resistance to tougher fuel standards.
Bureaucratic fighting between the environment ministry on the one hand and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Sinopec Group on the other has thwarted stricter emission standards for diesel trucks and buses – a main cause of air pollution blanketing dozens of cities.

Delays in implementing stricter emission standards are rooted in money – chiefly, who should pay for refining cleaner fuels. By some estimates, vehicle emissions contribute as much as a quarter of the most dangerous particles in Beijing’s air.”

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