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Emission Standards



Vehicle and engine emission standards are issued jointly by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) and the Standardization Administration of China (SAC), though MEE is in charge of developing, drafting, and approving the standards. Until 2018, the MEE was known as the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP). In addition to National Standards, which are mandatory nationwide, Environmental Standards may apply to industries that have an impact on the quality of the environment, and Local Standards may be issued by local governments. The following naming conventions (prefixes) apply to the various types of regulations and standards:

  • GB—mandatory national standards,
  • GB/T—recommended national standards,
  • HJ—environmental standards,
  • HJ/T—recommended environmental standards,
  • BJ (Beijing) and SH (Shanghai) are example local standards.

The first emission regulations for motor vehicles became effective in the 1990s [Regulation GB 14761]. Chinese standards, up to and including China 6, are based on European regulations, adopted with a certain time delay. At one point in time, Beijing proposed standards for light-duty vehicles based on US Tier 3 limits, but the proposal was withdrawn in favor of Euro 6 based standards.

Once a national standard has been issued, cities and regions in China may implement the standard in advance of the nationwide implementation dates, conditional on receiving approval from the State Council. In some cases, special approval can be granted to cities or regions to implement a stricter standard before the national standard has been released. Large metropolitan areas, including Beijing and Shanghai, Guangzhou, and some other cities have adopted more stringent regulations on an accelerated schedule, ahead of the rest of the country. Beijing implemented Euro 4 standards for light-duty vehicles in 2008 (the year of the Beijing Olympics) and Euro 5-based standards from 2013. Many cities in China use a system of colored labels attached to the vehicle to identify which vehicles meet the required emission standards.

Regulated Engines and Vehicles

New Engines and Vehicles

Emission standards have been adopted for the following categories of new engines and/or vehicles:

Furthermore, fuel consumption standards have been adopted for light-duty as well as for heavy-duty vehicles, and new energy vehicle (NEV) policy applies to light-duty vehicles.

In-Use Emissions

For vehicle inspections, the MEE issued updated standards and/or test methods for a range of applications in 2018 [4024]:

  • GB 36886-2018, Limits and measurement methods for exhaust smoke from non-road mobile machinery equipped with diesel engine. Implementation 2018-12-01.
  • GB 18285-2018, Limits and measurement methods for emissions from gasoline vehicles under two-speed idle conditions and short driving mode conditions. This replaces GB18285-2005 and HJ/T240-2005 and is implemented 2019-05-01.
  • GB 3847-2018, Limits and measurement methods for emissions from diesel vehicles under free acceleration and lugdown cycle. This replaces GB 3847-2005 and HJ/T 241-2005 and is implemented 2019-05-01.