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China’s fuel quality standards and fuel supply management have long been an impediment to improved air quality by hindering the progress of vehicle emission control. This paper summarizes the status of China’s fuel quality standards, fuel supply and vehicle emission standards focusing on the major problems of fuel quality management. The mechanism that China uses to establish its fuel quality standards is outlined. The gaming of stakeholders such as regulatory authorities, vehicle and engine manufacturers and the gigantic state-owned oil companies in the development of fuel quality standard formulation and fuel supply is illustrated. Results are presented from testing 59 gasoline samples for sulphur, olefins, aromatics, benzene, and manganese content and from testing 59 diesel samples for sulphur and polyaromatic hydrocarbons collected across the country from 2010 to 2011. This paper also provides key policy suggestions to improve future fuel quality in China. China should improve fuel quality through the application of policy measures such as adjusting the fuel quality standard formulation process, introducing competition and enforcing the transition period for improved fuel introduction, unifying on-road diesel and non-road diesel fuel quality standards, and pay attention to issues like fuel detergent, methanol addition and evaporative emissions.
Yue, X., Y. Wu, J. Hao, Y. Pang, Y. Ma, Y. Li, B. Li, & X. Bao (2015) Fuel quality management versus vehicle emission control in China, status quo and future perspectives, ENERGY POLICY 79:87-98.