pollution tax?

February 1st, 2009

I started writing this yesterday evening, but I was distracted by too many other things happening around me, the most important being dinner. So I thought, bugger it, hit save and finish it tomorrow. So here I am, but I can’t be arsed finishing the post, I’m just going to put it out there in its only just begun form: Nah, now I’ve gone and updated the whole thing with a translation of a new article.

Is Beijing going to put a pollution tax on vehicles? That seems, at first glance, to be the point of this article. Now, I’m feeling a bit too lazy to translate the whole thing, and it all seems very preliminary anyway, but the article says that the environmental protection bureau is investigating levying a 排污费, what I take to mean an ‘exhaust tax’, on motor vehicles, a tax that would be levied on two bases:

  1. 机动车排量大小- the volume of the vehicle’s emissions; and
  2. 尾气排放标准高低- the standard of the vehicle’s exhaust.

Update: Not this year, reports Ma Li in 新京报/The Beijing News:


In recent days there have been media reports saying “Beijing plans to levy an emissions fee on motor vehicles this year. Hearings will be held before the implementation.” The relevant person in charge at the municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said yesterday that this information was an empty rumour and the levying of an emissions fee on motor vehicles was simply a policy that Beijing will research further. Arrangements to levy the fee this year have certainly not been made.

去年奥运会后,北京提出将加强机动车尾气排放管理,深入研究机动车排污费征收政策。市环保局副局长、新闻发言人杜少中表示,这项政策目 前仅是要深入研究,何时出台和征收的方法都还未确定。“环保部曾在全国进行过机动车污染排污费的试点。但由于此项工作比较复杂,所以何时在北京实施收费目 前没有安排。”

After the Olympics last year, Beijing proposed a strengthening of vehicle exhaust management and deeper research into the policy of levying an emissions fee on motor vehicles. Vice-director and spokesperson of the municipal Environmental Protection Bureau Du Shaozhong said this policy is only undergoing deeper research and it has not yet been decided when it will be announced or how it will be levied. “The Ministry of Environmental Protection has carried out pilot projects for the levying of a fee for the emission of pollution by motor vehicles around the country, but because this work is relatively complicated, at present it has not been decided when to levy this fee in Beijing.”


He said that this year the key point for motor vehicle management in Beijing was the renewal and elimination of “yellow sticker vehicles”, using the method of economic encouragement to promote the scrapping or moving out of Beijing of these old, high-emissions vehicles. Currently the work of elimination of “yellow sticker vehicles” was relatively successful, with 576 vehicles having been eliminated before Spring Festival.


In 1998, the three cities of Hangzhou, Zhengzhou and Jilin carried out a pilot project of levying fees on the total amount of emissions. According to the regulations of the time, small vehicles payed 300 yuan per year and medium-sized vehicles 500 yuan per year. The fees were only collected until June 30, 2003.

So, vehicle owners are safe this year (unless, of course, it’s a high-emission “yellow sticker vehicle” they’re driving), but watch out, they’re seriously researching the possibility of levying a “pollution tax” on motor vehicles. Upgrading to a smaller, more efficient, less polluting vehicle might be a good idea.

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