Cars with an engine size of less than 1.6 litres accounted for 60% of Chinese car sales last year, latest industry statistics show, the official Xinhua News Agency said on Monday.

“The rise in sales of low-emission cars was due to high oil prices and government policies favouring small cars,” a report from the China Association of Auto Manufacture[rs] said.

China raised the price of refined oil several times last year and some cities have removed restrictions on driving routes open to small-engine vehicles in recent years.

About 328,000 cars with an engine size of below 1.0 litres were sold last year, accounting for 8.6% of total domestic sedan sales, said the report.

Cars with an engine size of between 1.0 and 1.6 litres took up about half of the total sedan sales.

Of the 10 best-selling brands, six were economy cars, including VW’s Jetta, the Buick Excelle, Hyundai Elantra, Xiali, Cherry QQ and Cherry Cowin.

China’s car sales rose 37% to 3.83m last year.