16: Vehicles

Vehicles produce roughly 8% of the heat-trapping gases emitted in China each year.1 This percentage will increase in the years ahead as the Chinese vehicle stock grows and heavy manufacturing declines as a percentage of the overall economy.

The Chinese government’s principal policies with respect to vehicle emissions include fuel efficiency standards and support for “new energy vehicles.” (The Chinese government uses the term “new energy vehicle,” or “NEV,” to describe vehicles powered by fuels other than petroleum.) Almost all NEVs in China today are plug-in electric vehicles with batteries, although fuel cell electric vehicles are receiving growing attention from policy makers.

This chapter discusses China’s vehicle stock, fuel efficiency standards and new energy vehicle programs.


See China State Council, 国务院关于建设现代综合交通运输体系有关工作情况进行专题询问 (June 2021) (comments of Deputy Director Hu Zucai at 15:46:29) (in Chinese); IEA, “CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion 2018,” at pp.15, 81 (in 2016, China’s transport emissions = 0.8 Gt CO2 and China’s total CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion = 9.1 Gt); World Bank, “World Development Indicators,” (accessed September 10, 2022) (in 2014, transport = 8.6% of China’s CO2 emissions); “People’s Republic of China, Second Biennial Update Report on Climate Change,” (December 2018) at pp.16, 19 (in 2014, transport emissions = 9.0% CO2 emissions and CO2 emissions = 81.6% of total greenhouse gas emissions).

Guide to Chinese Climate Policy