01/28/2006, 00.00
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Seoul : Parking discounts for owners of ecological cars

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young

The discounts will vary between 50 and 80%.  The measure was introduced by Seoul city council to counter rising pollution.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – Seoul city council intends to pass a new law which will grant owners of cleaner, fuel-efficient cars discounted parking. The announcement was made this morning by a council official.  It is hoped that this new law, which will be presented next month to the council board, will encourage drivers to choose ecological cars, given that the South Korean capital is faced with increasing pollution problems.

The vehicles to benefit will be fuel cell and other electric-powered cars, hybrid and compressed natural gas (CNG) cars, and conventional gasoline-powered cars meeting gas-emission standards with their drivers enjoying a 50 percent discount when using public car parks and an 80 percent discount when using subway station car parks.  Light passenger vehicle owners will enjoy identical benefits.  "We decided to provide the same incentives to owners of environment-friendly cars and owners of light passenger cars, as part of our long-term plans to reduce air pollution", the official continued.

The Seoul city government had been attempting to reduce air pollution in its downtown areas by promoting the use of environment-friendly cars. Since 2002, the city has provided more than 2,800 low-exhaust vehicles including buses, vacuum cars and hybrid cars for public servants and is looking to increase 20,000 CNG buses by 2007.

Since 2000 the Ministry of Environment(MOE) has tried to reduce the volume of air pollutants emitted by motor vehicles by 50 percent by 2005 and is continuing to promote it. Fuel quality improvement measures have also been put in place such as the reduction of the sulphur content of diesel fuel.

Motor vehicle emission are currently the largest source of air pollutants in Korea. Maintaining clean air will therefore be difficult without a comprehensive motor vehicle air pollution reduction policy.

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