Plan to ban sale of gasoline-fueled scooters draws backlash

2018/11/05 19:41:08 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Plan to ban sale of gasoline-fueled scooters draws backlash

Taipei, Nov. 5 (CNA) Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers and industry representatives voiced opposition in the Legislative Yuan Monday to a government plan to ban the sale of gasoline-fueled scooters in 2035.

KMT lawmakers Wu Chih-yang (吳志揚), Chen Shei-saint (陳學聖), Lu Yu-ling (呂玉玲) and Chang Ching-pao (張慶寶), chairman of a national federation of gasoline-fueled scooter associations, opposed the policy at a news conference, saying that it would pose a threat to related sectors and affect the livelihoods of a million people.

"To fight air pollution, the government should place its focus on big factories rather than on scooters, as they produce only 4 percent of the country's air pollution," Chen said.

The government should adopt a well-thought-out policy and devise auxiliary measures to help scooter drivers, given that many of them are less well-off economically, Wu contended.

For his part, Chang said that the government must not follow a policy that will "kill" the industry by subsidizing drivers of electric scooters, especially at a time when the newest models of gasoline-powered scooters meet emissions standards set by the government since January 2017, on par with electric scooters.

"The government should adopt a dual-track system to leave more room for the public to make their own choices," he argued.

Meanwhile, there are some 13 million people driving gasoline- fueld scooters in Taiwan, and they will become helpless when it comes to maintenance and repairs if the government clamps down on that sector of the industry, Chang said.

Protests will be held in northern, central and southern Taiwan Nov. 13 to convey their stance to the government, he added.

On Aug. 23, Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said the government plans to ban the sale of gasoline-fueled scooters by 2035 as a means of reducing air pollution.

Echoing Lai's remarks, Environmental Protection Administration Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said it is a global trend to develop electric scooters and cars to help fight worsening air pollution.

The government does not mean to wipe out gasoline-powered scooters given that 600,000-700,000 units are sold in Taiwan every year, Lee said, adding that as many as 900,000-950,000 units were sold last year alone.

"The government's announcement to ban the sale of such scooters by 2035 was intended to allow the public to have more time to make adjustments and jointly face the air pollution problem," Lee said.

"It does not mean that the public will not be able to drive gasoline-fueled scooters by 2035, but rather it is aimed at banning the manufacture of that type of scooter by that time," he explained.

(By Wang Cheng-chung and Flor Wang)
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