China to Adopt Fuel-Economy Standards Stricter Than Those in U.S.

Intent on reducing its growing dependence on foreign oil, China is set to impose vehicle fuel-economy standards that will be markedly stricter than those in place in the U.S. The rules, expected to go into effect in 2005 and become more stringent in 2008, will require all small cars sold in China to get slightly better gas mileage than the average small car sold in the U.S.; meanwhile, minivans and SUVs will have to be significantly more efficient than models now in U.S. showrooms. The Chinese government hopes the standards will encourage automakers to sell small, high-tech vehicles in the country. General Motors, for one, seems prepared to do just that. Earlier today, GM officials showed off their fuel-cell prototypes to Beijing officials and asserted that they can make fuel cells commercially viable in China by 2010.