South Korea enacted legislation this week which allows private motorists to buy vehicles powered by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), in response to rising environmental concerns in the country.

Until now, only taxis operators and car rental companies were allowed to use LPG in their vehicles. Official data shows there were around 2m LPG-powered vehicles in use in South Korea last year.

The government on Wednesday passed a bill that called for the complete deregulation of the LPG vehicle segment at the plenary session of the National Assembly’s industry committee. It is under mounting pressure to respond more urgently to air pollution concerns, particularly fine dust, which is a growing health issue in many countries in Asia.

South Korea automakers are stepping up plans to launch new LPG models which require special fuel tanks and fuel delivery systems which are often retrofitted.

Renault Samsung has already indicated it would launch an LPG-fueled QM6 mid-size SUV model in the next few months while Hyundai would launch more fuel-efficient LPG versions of its new Sonata.

Ssangyong will install a separate LPG fuel system on its petrol-fueled Tivoli model while Kia’s LPG line already includes the Picanto, K5 and K7.