The Beijing municipal government this week announced plans to introduce stricter emission standards on heavy-duty vehicles in July, joining a growing number of cities across the country with similar policies to improve air quality.

From July of this year, new medium and heavy-duty vehicles sold in the municipality will have to comply with State VI emission standard, which is equivalent to Euro VI, which requires polluting emissions to be cut by around 50% from current State V standards.

The directive was issued by the Beijing Municipal Ecological Environment Bureau in a document published on its website. It also states that new light vehicles, including light commercial vehicles and passenger cars, will be required to meet State VI emissions standards from the beginning of next year.

Other cities in China are also introducing similar measures to cut air pollution, including Guangdong which requires all new vehicles to meet State VI standards from the beginning of March; while Tianjin, Shenzen and all cities in Shandong province will introduce State VI standards on all vehicles from July.

Most models currently on sale across the country only meet the current State V standards, meaning that automakers will have to speed up new model launches to prevent customers from having to delay their purchases.

As of late November 2018 only 554 vehicle models were officially approved State VI models, according to a report by China Automotive News, just 12% of those with State V approvals.

All major automakers from this year are also required to sell minimum quotas of new-energy vehicles, after sales of these vehicles rose by 62% to 1.26 million units in 2018.

Stricter fuel-consumption standards are also expected to be implemented across the country. The government has set an average fuel-consumption target for new light passenger vehicles of 20km/litre by 2020, prompting carmakers step up light-weighting and introduce smaller engines according to local reports.