Combating Vehicle Smoke & Exhaust Gas

Vehicle emissions are major source of pollution at the street level in Hong Kong. Here you can find out more about them, the government's efforts in reducing their emissions and simple things you can do to help.

Street-Level Pollution

Vehicle pollution is a significant problem in urban areas. Of particular concern are emissions from diesel commercial vehicles including trucks, buses and public light buses, which produce large amounts of particulates and nitrogen oxides. A crowded urban environment with busy road traffic like Hong Kong, can trap pollutants at street level. This can increase the ambient temperature and have health implications. What the Government is doing about this now will mean that you have a healthier future.

Promotion of Electric Vehicles in Hong Kong

Electric vehicles (EVs) have no tailpipe emissions.  Replacing conventional vehicles with EVs can help improve roadside air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  A wider use of EVs also contributes to the development of environmental industries.

The Finance Secretary chairs a Steering Committee on the Promotion of EVs with members drawn from various sectors to recommend a strategy complementary with specific measures to promote the use of electric vehicles in Hong Kong, having regard to the resulting energy efficiency, environmental benefits and the creation of business opportunities.

More on Promotion of Electric Vehicles

A Comprehensive Vehicle Emission Control Programme

To improve roadside air quality and protect public health, the Government has stepped up efforts to reduce vehicle emissions in recent years. The major new and on-going measures include –

  • Phasing out progressively pre-Euro IV diesel commercial vehicles
  • The use of roadside remote sensing equipment to strengthen emission control on petrol and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vehicles
  • Fully subsidising franchised bus companies to retrofit eligible Euro II and III franchised buses with selective catalytic reduction devices
  • Setting up low emission zones for franchised buses
  • Tightening the emission standards for newly registered vehicles in phases from 1 July 2017

With our continuing efforts, we see discernable improvement in roadside air quality.

More on street-level air pollution control

Phasing Out Pre-Euro IV Diesel Commercial Vehicles

To improve roadside air quality and better protect public health, the Environmental Protection Department adopted an incentive-cum-regulatory approach to progressively phase out by the end of 2019 some 82,000 pre-Euro IV diesel commercial vehicles including goods vehicles, light buses and non-franchised buses. An ex-gratia payment scheme was launched on 1 March 2014 to assist the affected vehicle owners. In addition, diesel commercial vehicles registered from 1 February 2014 will have a service life limit of 15 years.  For enquiries, please call 2651 1100.

More on phasing out pre-Euro IV diesel commercial vehicles and the ex-gratia payment scheme

Tax Incentives for Environment-friendly Commercial Vehicles

To encourage the use of environment-friendly commercial vehicles, which have lower emissions, starting from 1 April 2008, reduction in the First Registration Tax has been offering to buyers of newly registered environment-friendly commercial vehicles. For enquiries about the environment-friendly commercial vehicle models and details of the scheme, please contact Environmental Protection Department, Mobile Source Group at 2594 6392. Matters related to the First Registration Tax should be addressed to Transport Department, Licensing Section at 2804 2600. The Environmental Protection Department's website also contains further information on how the incentives work and how you can apply for them.

More on the tax incentives

Encouraging Trial of Green Innovative Transport Technologies

To encourage the transport sector to test out green innovative and low carbon transport technologies, the Government has put in place a $300 million Pilot Green Transport Fund (the Fund) for application by the public transport trades, goods vehicle operators, and non-profit making organisations since March 2011.  In general, the products to be tested under the Fund may involve alternative-fueled vehicles such as electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles, after-treatment emission reduction devices, or fuel saving devices related to transport activities, or conversion of in-use conventional vehicles to alternative-fueled vehicles for better emission performance.  The Fund will subsidize the capital cost of the hardware (including installation cost if applicable) of the green innovative technology product and its support system (such as charging or refilling facilities) proposed for trial.  For vehicles, the subsidy level is the price premium between the alternative-fueled vehicle and the conventional vehicle or 50% of the cost of the alternative-fueled vehicle, whichever is higher; and 50% of the setting up cost of the related support facilities.  For after-treatment emission reduction or fuel saving devices to be installed on conventional vehicles or ferries, the subsidy level is 75% of the device and its installation costs.  A transport operator may apply for the Fund to try out different green innovative technology products (e.g. hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles) subject to a maximum of $9 million subsidy for each application and $12 million in total for all its applications.

More on the Pilot Green Transport Fund

For enquiries about the Fund, please contact 2824 0022.

Smoky Vehicle Control Programme and Spotter Training

To ensure that heavily polluting vehicles can be quickly identified for remedial action, the Environmental Protection Department has introduced the Smoky Vehicle Control Programme. Trained accredited spotters will report vehicles that emit excessive smoke. Based on the information provided, the Department will require the vehicle to undergo a smoke test at a designated vehicle emission testing centre within a prescribed period.  Failing to do so, or repeated failures in the test will result in cancellation of the vehicle owner's licence.

More on the Smoky Vehicle Control Programme

Further information on spotter training

The Statutory Ban against Idling of Motor Vehicle Engines

Allowing idling vehicles to run their engines causes air pollution, heat and noise nuisances and wastes fuel, thereby contributing to global climate change. To tackle these environmental problems, the Government has enacted the Motor Vehicle Idling (Fixed Penalty) Ordinance (Cap.611). With effect from 15 December 2011, a driver is prohibited from idling the engine of a vehicle for more than 3 minutes in any 60 minutes period. A traffic warden or environmental protection inspector may issue a fixed penalty notice of $320 to a driver who contravenes the prohibition.

The Statutory Ban against Idling of Motor Vehicle Engines

More on the idling prohibition

What You Can Do

There are a few simple things that you can do to help reduce street-level air pollution. The easiest is to reduce your dependence on private cars, taking public transport as far as possible. If you do have to drive yourself, remember that a well-tuned car pollutes less, and that you do not need to leave the engine running when you are waiting to pick up someone else. In just a few small steps you can take long strides towards reducing pollution.

Greener transportation
Last revision date: May 2017
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