SEOUL, July 27 (Korea Bizwire) – Diesel cars have been at the center of attention recently, primarily due to the official investigation into Audi-Volkswagen Korea’s fraudulent emissions reporting. Diesel emissions have also been identified by the Korean government in May as major producers of fine dust and ozone, and a potential health risk.
Seoul Metropolitan Government, in coordination with the Ministry of Environment, revealed Wednesday morning that it would take further steps to prohibit all older diesel vehicles weighing 2.5 tons and above from entering Seoul, a ban that will gradually extend to cover all of the capital area, including Incheon and 17 cities in Gyeonggi Province, by 2019.
Starting in January 2017, diesel vehicles registered prior to 2002 will be prohibited from operating in Seoul. The ban will expand in 2018 to include vehicles registered prior to June 2004, and the geographical area will spread to cover the entire Seoul metropolitan area. Ultimately, by 2019, some 450,000 diesel vehicles in the capital area registered pre-2005 will be subject to government restrictions.
Such measures were developed as part of Seoul’s ambitious plans to reduce fine dust concentrations from 23㎍/㎥ (2015) to 20㎍/㎥ by 2018. A total of 574 billion won will be invested to combat the ‘Big Three’ causes of find dust – vehicles, construction equipment, and scattered dust from construction sites and factories.
More than 3,600 construction vehicles, including dump trucks, excavators, and cement mixers, will be substituted with low-emissions vehicles by 2018, while 1756 diesel-fuel public buses will either be scrapped and replaced, or be fitted with emissions-reduction devices.
The city will also double the number of vehicles on offer for car-sharing, as well as increase the number of public bicycles to 20,000. The number of road dust suction trucks will be doubled to 70 by 2017 as well.
Furthermore, Seoul will supply 12,000 electric vehicles by 2018, and will triple the number of rapid-charging stations in the city to 200.
Meanwhile, the city further decided to expand its compensation policy to owners of the diesel vehicles concerned. For example, owners of diesel vehicles subject to the new regulations will receive compensation equal to 100 percent of the residual value of the cars they scrap, along with a government loan to finance a new car purchase. They will also be able to purchase new cars with a reduced special consumption tax, as well as a 1 million won discount offered by the automakers.
“We will do our best to make sure we effectively achieve the goals set by the new measures,” said Yoo Jae-ryong, director of climate and environment at the Seoul Metropolitan Government. “We understand our strong measures may pose certain inconveniences to citizens, but we kindly ask for cooperation to better protect our health from fine dust.”
By Lina Jang (email@example.com)