Green Car Congress alerts us to the news that the Chinese government has approved new automobile fuel efficiency guidelines. Good to hear, but the big news is that these standards -- which are "not particularly stringent" in the words of the AP writer -- exceed US fuel efficiency standards. According to an analysis by US PIRG:
China’s new fuel economy standards require 32 different car and truck weight-based classes to achieve between 19 and 38 mpg by 2005, and between 21 and 43 mpg by 2008. Only 79 percent of U.S. car sales and 27 percent of U.S. light truck sales currently meet China’s 2005 standards. Only 19 percent of car sales and 14 percent of truck sales currently meet China’s 2008 standard.
China’s new standards prescribe a maximum level of fuel consumption for every vehicle within each weight class, meaning that every automobile produced in a particular weight class has to meet the fuel economy standard set for that weight class. The U.S. fuel economy system, on the other hand, only requires that car and light truck sales averages meet fuel economy standards for each class.
In China, if the automobiles do not meet the prescribed standards, they simply cannot be sold.