TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Environmental Protection Administration chief Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) today said that the government's plans for banning the production of gasoline-powered scooters in the year 2035 are meant to tackle the country's air pollution problem, but that the effort will be phased in gradually, reported CNA.
At a press conference today, prior to a meeting of the Commission on Social Welfare, Health and Environment in the Legislative Yuan, Lee said that the ban on the manufacture of gasoline-powered scooters will be imposed in 2035, because the world is moving towards electric vehicles as a means to solve the problem of air pollution.
Lee pointed out that the annual sales of scooters in recent years have ranged between 600,000 to 700,000. However, last year's sales soared to between 900,000 to 950,000. Lee said that this clearly demonstrates that, without government intervention, the number of gasoline-powered scooters will not decline on its own, and he cited the global trend toward electric vehicles and the three anti-pollution marches planned this month as reasons to implement the ban.
Meanwhile, Lee sought to reassure current customers and companies alike that the transition from gasoline-powered scooters to electric scooters will be incremental and gradual. He made mention that production of two-stroke scooters was halted in 2004, yet people are still allowed to ride them. Lee said that in order to encourage the industry to make the transition sooner, the 2035 ban is being announced now, and even after 2035, consumers will still be able to ride gasoline-powered scooters built before that year.
Lee said that Article 36 of the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法) stipulates more stringent standards can be imposed on vehicles that are over ten years old, but it does not mean that ten year old vehicles will be completely eliminated, even after the relevant emissions standards go into effect in 2020. He said there will still be scooters around that are over 17 years old.
Lee added that the 2020 emissions standards will not impose a ban on older vehicles in areas with populations under 200,000 people. Instead, the standards will use methods of persuasion to encourage riders to upgrade to cleaner vehicles. He said that he hopes that, in order to improve air quality for future generations, people in metropolitan areas with populations over 200,000 will pay attention to the new emissions standards in 2020 and, as long as they follow those standards, they can continue to ride their gasoline-powered scooters.
Meanwhile, out of fear that the 2035 ban on gasoline-powered scooter will adversely affect their business, the Republic of China Scooter Commercial Association (中華民國機車商業同業公會) plans on holding a protest against the ban in front of the Legislative Yuan today.