Seoul, South Korea – South Korea has set new fuel economy standards that will require automakers to meet an average of 5.9 L/100 km by 2015, or reduce CO2 emissions to an average of 140 g/km. The announcement was made by the South Korean Presidential Committee on Green Growth.

Fuel efficiency standards in South Korea are already scheduled to increase by 16.5 per cent in 2012, from current levels of 6.9 L/100 km for vehicles with an engine displacement of less than 1600 cc, and 8.9 L/100 km for those larger. In 2008, new passenger vehicles sold in the country averaged 8.7 L/100 km, while as of 2007, average CO2 emissions were 201 g/km.

The committee said that the dual system, of meeting fuel economy or CO2 standards, is the world’s first, and is designed to cushion the economic burden placed on car companies. As some automakers have an edge in fuel economy while others have better carbon dioxide reduction technology, companies can choose the more beneficial system.

The government is also considered a penalty system for automakers and an incentive system for consumers to increase fuel efficiency. Woo Ki-jong, the secretary general of the committee, said that Korean vehicles’ average fuel economy is only 70 per cent of Japanese- or U.S.-made vehicles, while Japanese cars meet an average of 152 g/km of CO2 compared to 201 g/km for Korean vehicles.

The new 2015 Korean fuel economy regulation is stricter than that set by the U.S. and its regulation deadline is a year earlier, but the CO2 regulation is less severe than the European standard of 130 g/km, as Koreans tend to prefer vehicles with automatic transmissions, while Europeans buy more stick shifts.

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