Monday, June 1, 2009

vehicle environmental labeling

This post is about vehicle environmental labeling in China.

Mandatory Tailpipe Emissions Labeling

There is currently no national environmental labeling program based on tailpipe emissions (although MEP has proposed one that will hopefully be issued sometime this year).

However, many cities in China require their own vehicle environmental label, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Qingdao, Nanjing, and more.

In Beijing specifically, environmental labeling by tailpipe emission standard has been required since, I believe, 1999. The latest formal document about the label is this one from 2004: 北京市环境保护局关于启用新版机动车环保标志的通知 ("Beijing EPB notice on use of new version of vehicle environmental label").

This document specifies that green labels are given to gasoline vehicles meeting Euro I or higher and diesel vehicles meeting Euro III or higher tailpipe emission standard. It's unusual that the document uses the Euro (欧) nomenclature as opposed to the standard China (国) term used in other tailpipe emission standards; I'm not sure why.

Although I couldn't find a formal document specifying this, I also know that gasoline vehicles are further differentiated by stars, with one star for China I, two stars for China II and China III w/o OBD, three stars for China III w/OBD, and four stars for China IV. There is no star differentiation for diesel vehicles. Here's an example:

Beijing environmental label (green). The four stars indicate that this gasoline vehicle meets the China IV emission standard.

In the States, I know that California has a smog label, but I'm not sure of anywhere else that in the United States that requires environmental labeling for anything other than fuel economy.

Voluntary Tailpipe Emissions Labeling

In addition to the mandatory tailpipe emissions label, I am also surprised and fascinated by how many voluntary, manufacturer-suppled tailpipe emission standard labels I come across in China. I can't think of anything comparable in the States; a vehicle's tailpipe emission standard there just doesn't seem to be a selling point or something to boast about with a fancy label. Here are some examples I've seen in China:

Euro III (欧III) back window label on a small gasoline van.

China III (国III) + OBD (on-board diagnostics) back window label on a small gasoline van.

EuroIV (欧IV) label on the back of a diesel public bus.

Euro IV (欧IV) back window label on a small gasoline van.

Euro V (欧V) label on a diesel tour bus. This was very surprising to me.
Update 6/2/09: Apparently this bus model is simply called 欧V, with the V being a letter, not intended to be the roman number for 5. More info in a follow up post here.

The same "Euro V" bus gets zero stars on the city label because the diesel labels have no star differentiation.

Mandatory Fuel Economy Labeling

According to GB22757-2008, cars in China will be required to display fuel economy labels beginning 7/1/2009. I will try to post a lengthier post once it goes into force. In the meantime, here is what the label will look like:

For comparison, here is the current United States fuel economy label:

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