The National Development and Reform Commission in China recently added 71 models from 16 different automakers to the approved list of vehicles that qualify for subsidies based on fuel efficiency alone. All of the qualifying vehicles are fitted with engines no larger than 1.6 liters and consume fuel at a rate of at least 20 percent below the average vehicle sold in China. Models such as the Hyundai i30 pictured above, will receive a subsidy of 3,000-yuan, which comes to a laughably small $442 (U.S. at the current exchange rate).

Now if China wants to clean up its air, we doubt that $442 per vehicle is enough to get it done. The commission reports that China's average fuel consumption per vehicle comes in at 2.28 tons, while the much greener country of Japan manages to get by on just 1.1 tons per vehicle. China currently stands as the world's second-largest energy user, and 40 percent of the nation's cities suffer from major air pollution problems. Obviously, China desperately needs to clean up its act, but will a measly $442 get it done? We think not.

*UPDATE: Details of China's new incentive program are murky and have even managed to confuse automakers. Many questions still remain, but it appears as though the incentives will be issued directly to manufacturers and not to buyers.

[Source: Green Car Advisor]

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