BEIJING, July 26 (Reuters) - Beijing plans to ban vehicles failing to meet European emission standards from January to reduce pollution in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics Games, state media said on Friday.
The Chinese capital, long criticised as excessively polluted, would ban the sale and use of vehicles failing to meet emission standards in place in Europe since 1996, they said.
From January 1, 2003, China will enforce nation-wide new gasoline specifications-- 0.08 percent sulphur, 35 percent olefins, 40 percent aromatis and 2.5 percent benzene--adopted at Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou from July 1, 2000.
"We are emulating the Europe II standards...All refineries will have to be producing the new-spec gasoline from end of this year," said an official with China's top oil company PetroChina.
The move to ban so-called dirty cars could help reduce major pollutants by half, state-run Xinhua news quoted the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) as saying.
SEPA required car manufacturers to apply for a certificate that models were deemed fit for the city's roads, the official China Daily paper said.
Almost 80 percent of all light vehicles and half the heavy vehicles in China already meet European emission standards, the newspaper quoted a senior official at Beijing's environmental protection bureau as saying.
In April, state media unveiled plans by traffic clogged Beijing to spend 880 million yuan ($106 million) on developing electric vehicles to be used for transport services during the Olympics.
The Beijing city government has promised to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on cleaning up the environment and moving dirty factories away from the city centre in time for the Olympics.