Close-up of a scooter exhaust

Motorbike exhausts are to be cleaned up under new air quality laws.

Hong Kong will finally catch up with Europe’s 2017 emissions standards for motorbikes and 2013 standards for light buses, as LegCo approves a law amendment to ban registration of new non-compliant vehicles.

From 1 October 2020, only bikes reaching Euro 4 or above will be licensed, while Light Buses will require Euro VI On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) Phase C after 1 March 2021.

The government tightened most new vehicle standards in March 2017 but bikes and light buses (between 3.5 and 9 tonnes) were exempted as, according to government, there were no viable bike or minibus models readily available in Hong Kong at the time.

Parallel-import motorbike suppliers objected to the latest tightening, requesting at least a few more years, but the government rejected their request. “We consider their request not justifiable because Europe, Japan and Taiwan have already implemented Euro 4 or equivalent emissions standards for motorcycles and their brands are most popular in Hong Kong,” says the Environmental Protection Department (EPD). There are over 140 Euro 4 motorcycle models approved for sale by the government.

Euro 4 petrol motorcycles emit about half the total hydrocarbons (including smog-forming volatile organic compounds, or VOCs) and about 60 per cent less nitrogen oxides (NOx) from tailpipes compared with Euro 3 counterparts.

Compared with their Euro V counterparts, Euro VI heavy duty diesel vehicles emit about 80 per cent less NOx and half the respirable suspended particulates.

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