The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) on Wednesday said it is mulling a revision to the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法) to ban two-stroke vehicles by 2020, EPA Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said during a Taipei news conference held to encourage the public not to burn incense and ghost money ahead of Ghost Festival to reduce air pollution.
The EPA is to stop providing cash incentives for owners who replace their two-stroke scooters with less polluting vehicles in 2019, and the EPA is assessing the possibility of enacting a complete ban on two-stroke vehicles after the subsidy program ends, Lee said.
Lee said a road space rationing policy is in place in Beijing, while gasoline-powered scooters are banned in Xiamen.
“Taiwan is a democratic country, and phasing out two-stroke vehicles will be a gradual process. Legislation cannot be implemented before the public has a common view on the issue,” he said.
The production of two-stroke vehicles ended in 2004 because they could not meet emissions standards, but there are still 1.8 million two-stroke scooters in use in the nation, EPA Department of Air Quality and Noise Control Director Chen Hsien-heng (陳咸亨) said.
“Two-stroke scooters are on average 17 to 18 years old, and they produce much more pollutants than four-stroke vehicles. That is why the EPA and local governments have considered limiting the use of two-stroke vehicles,” Chen said.
Local governments have proposed air pollution reduction programs, including establishing “clean zones” in which high-pollution vehicles would be banned.
The Tainan City Government is planning to make all of Tainan off-limits to two-stroke scooters by 2019, following an announcement by the Kaohsiung City Government last year said that it would ban two-stroke vehicles by 2020.
Although the EPA has not yet decided to implement a full ban on two-stroke scooters, it respects the authority of local governments to make such decisions, Chen said.
The EPA’s statement came after a protest by vintage car collectors in Tainan on Tuesday.
Protesters gathered in front of the Tainan Environmental Protection Bureau buildings with dozens of vintage cars and scooters to protest against the proposed ban.
Protesters said that two-stroke scooters were unfairly singled out, because pollution produced by the nation’s scooters as a whole is less than the pollution caused by diesel trucks, buses, cars or four-stroke scooters according to the EPA data, although two-stroke engines produce more pollution per vehicle.
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