Smog levels in Beijing reached dangerously high levels this past winter, and in January pollution levels were 10 to 15 times what the World Health Organization classifies as a health risk. Now China is finally doing something about the capital’s pollution problem. Officials recently announced that within the next 12 months, Beijing will impose a fuel pollution tax that will be added to standard gas prices in order to dissuade residents from driving as much.

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Drivers currently have to pay a base 17% tax for every liter of gas they purchase. Plus, there is a fixed tax of one yuan (or $0.16) per liter, as well as a 0.07% urban construction tax and a 0.03% education tax. With these current taxes, a liter of gas costs around 8 yuan or $1.30. When the pollution tax is added, a liter of gas will cost ten yuan, or $1.62. If this pollution tax is successful in Beijing, the government plans to implement it across the country.

This pollution tax is one of a series of efforts that China is making to mitigate the country’s off-the-charts air pollution levels. The Chinese government also plans to establish the country’s first fleet-wide fuel-economy standard of 34 miles per gallon by 2015. Beijing has pledged to remove 180,000 polluting cars from its roads. And nationwide, there will be an effort to replace 44,000 coal-burning heaters with cleaner alternatives.

Via Auto Blog Green

Photos by Suicup (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons and by Nanbeidadao (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons