Policy recommendations to reduce pollution from Hainan’s on-road vehicle fleet: Benchmarking with international best practices


China’s southernmost province, Hainan, is in the process of becoming the largest Free Trade Port (FTP) in the world. This tropical island province has made environmental improvement its highest priority as it pursues development of the FTP. It envisions building a world-class environmentally friendly economy by 2035 to attract investment, business, talent, and tourists from around the world.

Although already boasting the cleanest air in China, Hainan’s pollution levels are still some distance from the WHO air quality guidelines. On-road vehicles are recognized as the primary source of Hainan’s PM2.5 pollution, with a contribution of 30%, and an important contributor to Hainan’s ozone pollution. Local environmental policymakers are clear that on-road vehicles are the key obstacle to achieving Hainan’s air quality targets. This report provides policy recommendations for decarbonizing Hainan’s on-road vehicle fleet during the 2021–2035 period, through policy benchmarking with international best practices, as summarized in the table below.

We also evaluate the emission reduction potential of effectuating these policy recommendations in Hainan. If Hainan were to enforce strictly all currently adopted policies and realize their announced vehicle electrification ambition, the NOx, PM, VOCs, and CO emissions from Hainan’s on-road vehicle fleet would decrease by 74%, 74%, 75%, and 73%, respectively, in 2035, compared to the Business As Usual (BAU) scenario. Potential policies based on the international best practices are expected to further reduce the NOx, PM, VOCs and CO emissions by 57%, 29%, 14%, and 14% in 2035. Part of the identified policy opportunities are not reflected in the emission modeling due to data deficiencies or uncertainties in scheme design; therefore, the estimated emission reduction benefits are conservative.

Vehicle testing