Opportunities to reduce vehicle emissions in Jakarta

Jakarta’s expanding fleet of motor vehicles is a key target of urgently needed actions to curb the city’s dangerous air pollution. This briefing paper highlights technologies and policies to reduce direct emissions from new and in-use cars, trucks, and buses in the city. Such policies, coupled with the promotion of mass transit, non-motorized transport, and other smart growth measures aimed at reducing transport demand, can significantly diminish the adverse effects of transportation on local air quality and public health in Jakarta, and spur similar actions across Indonesia.

Several factors contribute to worsening pollution from motor vehicles in Jakarta. Emission standards for both cars and trucks are more lenient than in other Asian megacities, as are limits on gasoline and diesel sulfur content. Furthermore, even the lenient sulfur standards for diesel are not being met, and the supply of compressed natural gas (CNG) has not been reliable enough to provide a dependable alternative for heavy-duty vehicles.

Ideally, strict fuel quality and vehicle emission standards would be implemented nationally. But in the absence of national action, the Special Capital Region of Jakarta can take steps to mandate stricter standards and implement additional measures within its jurisdiction. Doing so would not only deliver local air-quality benefits, but could also spur the implementation of similar actions in other cities and regions, and eventually, across the country.

Metropolitan areas around the world have approached the challenge of controlling air pollution from motor vehicles with a range of technological and regulatory solutions. Jakarta can gain from their experience, shaping its regulatory strategy around policies that have proven successful in similar circumstances. Local-level actions fall into three categories that complement each other in a comprehensive motor vehicle emission control program:

  1. Cleaner burning fuels
  2. Stringent emission standards for new vehicles
  3. Programs to clean up existing vehicles or remove them from service

Within the framework defined by these categories, cities adapt policy to local environmental concerns, availability of resources, and the composition of their specific vehicle fleet. This briefing provides examples of city action in these three areas, and suggests policy options for Jakarta to consider.

Emissions control