SEOUL, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- Seoul plans to phase out diesel cars from public sector and mass transit fleets by 2025 as part of efforts to accelerate its transition to green mobility.
The metropolitan government unveiled a "No Diesel" initiative this week aimed at eliminating the highly emitting automobiles from the roads and replacing them with electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Diesel cars, deemed as a key culprit of climate change and fine dust air pollution, account for 64.6 percent of vehicles used by the municipal government, district offices and city–affiliated pubic organizations. Diesel also makes up 0.9 percent of the capital's public transportation system.
"We hope the 'No Diesel' plan led by the Seoul Metropolitan Government will contribute to the creation of a proper ecosystem of consumption and production of environment-friendly cars," said Hwang Bo-yeon, chief of urban transportation policy.
The new policy focuses on replacing diesel cars and vans in the pubic fleets with environment-friendly alternatives over the next five years.
Of a total of 5,153 diesel automobiles currently used in the public sector, 3,586 cars will be replaced with electric and hydrogen vehicles in stages by 2025, City Hall said.
City authorities will also cooperate with carmakers to speed up the development of green models for fire trucks, ambulances and cleaning vehicles, which mostly run on diesel.
In early July, the city government banned the purchase of new diesel cars for public use, with a plan to procure only environment-friendly cars in the future.
It will also remove diesel vehicles from public transportation, including taxis, airport buses and city tour buses. The city, which already replaced all diesel buses with compressed natural gas buses in 2015, plans to introduce some 4,000 electric and hydrogen buses by 2025, officials said.
In addition, the city will enhance cooperation with private organizations in the green mobility drive. The government seeks to replace 30 percent of community buses with electric vehicles by 2023 and encourage school bus operators and car rental services to adopt environment-friendly automobiles.
According to the plan, the authorities will step up public awareness campaigns and consult with the central government to expand benefits for the use of green cars and early scrapping of old diesel vehicles.
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