South Korea has announced stricter emissions standards for vehicles starting next year, as part of efforts to clean up the air in its major cities.
The Ministry of Environment said Thursday that old diesel-powered vehicles weighing 2.5 tons or more will be banned from Seoul if they aren’t equipped with an emission-reducing device or a low-pollution engine.
The ban will be extended to Incheon and 17 other cities in Gyeonggi province in 2018, and to the remaining metropolitan areas in 2020.
A diesel car produced before 2005 emits eight times more bad gases than the latest models that meet the toughened Euro 6 standards, the ministry said in a statement.
About 1.04 million vehicles will be subject to the regulations.
The ministry said it would help partially finance the costs needed for low-income drivers and smaller firms to buy the latest diesel cars or equip their vehicles with emission-reducing devices.
Diesel cars account for more than half of newly registered vehicles in Korea.
The latest measures come after Korea in May found that some diesel vehicles emitted up to 21 times more nitrogen oxides on the roads than at laboratories in tests conducted in the wake of Volkswagen AG ’s admission last year that it falsified U.S. emissions tests on some diesel-powered cars.
On Tuesday, Korea banned the sale of almost all Volkswagen cars after revoking the certifications of 80 models and handed down heavy fines, saying the German auto maker faked documents on emissions and noise-level tests.
Last month, the government said it will cut consumption taxes for consumers who turn in diesel-engine cars that are at least 10 years old when purchasing a new car.
Korea also plans to spend 5 trillion won ($4.48 billion) by 2020 to have more green cars on the road and improve air quality.