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S. Korea to increase recharging stations for electric vehicles


Seoul   –  South Korea on Friday announced a plan to increase the number of recharging stations for electric vehicles to 3,100, or 25 per cent of the country’s gas stations nationwide.
It also plans to increase eco-friendly cars to 30 per cent of the combined newly-released vehicles by 2020 as part of efforts to reduce the country’s fine dust to European levels.
Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn chaired a meeting with top officials from relevant ministries of environment, finance, industry and transport.
According to the joint statement released after the meeting, Seoul plans to raise the ratio of eco-friendly cars, including electric vehicles, to 30 per cent by 2020.
However, it said the target was estimated at about 480,000 vehicles.
It added that benefits would be provided for the owners of environment-friendly vehicles, including a cut in expressway tolls and public parking rates.
The measures came amid rising calls to tackle the fine dust, which has increased health problems especially from respiratory organs.
Fine dust refers to particles smaller than 10 micrometres in diameter, with ultra-fine particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres.
The government aimed to reduce the country’s fine dust to the level in major European cities in the next 10 years, including Paris with 18 micrograms per cubic meter and London with 15 micrograms.
It targeted the fine dust level in Seoul at 18 micrograms by 2026.
However, Seoul’s fine dust stood at 23 micrograms in 2015.
It said to achieve the goal; the government would limit the entry of vehicles causing air pollution, such as decrepit diesel-powered cars, into downtown areas.
The designation of so-called low emission zone (LEZ), would be expanded to control the entry of diesel vehicles.
“Old diesel cars, which were rolled out before 2005, would be subject to an early scrap by 2019.
“All of commercial buses would be replaced with eco-friendly ones powered by compressed natural gas in a gradual manner.
“Ten coal-powered thermal power plants would be shut down or replaced with environmentally friendly ones powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).
“Factories subject to restrictions on the total amount of air pollutants emission would be increased, while tightening the air pollutant restrictions in a gradual basis,’’ it noted.
It added that hike in diesel prices and the so-called environment-improving charges, advocated by the environment ministry, were excluded from the measures on worries about public backlash.
However, various benefits provided for diesel car owners would be rolled back. (Xinhua/NAN)

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