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Diesel vehicles an alternative energy-saving approach, suggest industry professionals

BEIJING – The Energy-Saving and Emission-Reduction Forum of China Auto Industry was held at the Beijing National Convention Center on December 28, 2010. Government authorities, industry analysts, academic professionals and enterprise executives gathered together to discuss the energy-saving and emission-reduction targets of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) and the sustainable development of the auto industry. One point they made was that traditional energy sources, like diesel oil, cannot be ignored in the energy-saving battle.

Feng Fei, director of the Industrial Economics Department, Development Research Center of the State Council, suggested the mass-produced engine and whole vehicles which save energy by more than 30 percent and meet the State emission standards should enjoy the same subsidies as new energy vehicles. This will stimulate the transformation of the industry and technological upgrading, and reduce huge amounts of energy consumption at the same time, said Feng.  

Chen Quansheng, consultant of the State Council, warned against a rash development of the new energy vehicles, regarding the so-called “corner overtaking” a misunderstanding and a speculation. “Large numbers of automakers are producing new energy vehicles, while only 3-5 percent of them own the technology,” said Chen. With no breakthrough in the core technology of new energy vehicles, the improvement of traditional vehicle technology is a more realistic approach, said Chen.

Diesel engines, whose energy-saving effects have been proven by the European countries, were recommended by the professionals at the forum. After dozens of years’ development, with the application of high pressure common rail technology, modern diesel engines are cleaner, more powerful and more economical. According to an estimate, a rise of diesel vehicles’ market share from the current 9 percent to 30 percent during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015) could help save 3 million tons of oil and cut 9 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Dong Yang, vice chairman and secretary-general of China Association of Automobile Manufacturers suggested that the government increase the import of diesel oils to relieve its oil shortage. Jones Zhong, senior industry analyst and editor of CBU’s Chinese language newsletter Qiche Yaowen (www.cbuauto.com.cn), shared the same opinion by proposing more diesel import by oil magnates, such as PetroChina and Sinopec.

Wei Anli, deputy secretary-general of China Internal Combustion Engine Industry Association, called on support from the government. According to Wei, the government has decided to invest ¥2.2 billion ($323.5 million) in electric vehicles in 20 years but offered none for the internal combustion engine segment. With high-end sedans targeting the metropolis, diesel engine vehicles may find their way in the areas between 1st-tier and 2nd-tier cities, said Wei.  

A final recommendation made at the forum was to advocate green travelling and appeal for government subsidies to energy-saving diesel engine vehicles.

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