Taipei, April 17 (CNA) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Monday that it will increase a surcharge on diesel and gasoline by the end of 2017 to raise a fund that could accelerate the phasing out of older diesel trucks, one of the major mobile air pollution sources in Taiwan.
Surcharges will increase from NT$0.2 (US$0.006) to NT$0.4 per liter on diesel and from NT$0.2 to NT$0.3 per liter on gasoline, the EPA said.
The move could add NT$1.9 billion per year to the existing fund of NT$20 billion, which will be used for subsidies to encourage the phasing out of older diesel trucks, defined as those produced before July 1999, according to the agency.
The EPA encourages the speedy reduction of high-polluting trucks, saying last month that subsidies for each replacement of such vehicles will be NT$200,000 in 2018 and NT$150,000 in 2019.
As there are roughly 81,000 such trucks around the country, the subsidies are expected to hit NT$13.75 billion.
Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said last week that the government plans to spend NT$36.5 billion before the end of 2019 to reduce the level of fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) per cubic meter by 18.2 percent.
According to statistics provided by the Executive Yuan, PM2.5 originating outside Taiwan accounts for 34 percent-40 percent of the total pollutants, while domestic pollution makes up 60 percent-66 percent.
Among the sources of domestic pollution, 30 percent-37 percent comes from motor vehicles, while 27 percent-30 percent is emitted by industry and 32 percent-43 percent can be traced to other sources.
Lin said the objective is to cut the average concentration of PM2.5 from the current 22 micrograms per cubic meter to 18 micrograms.
(By Wu Hsin-yun and Lee Hsin-Yin)