China plans nationwide use of bioethanol gasoline in its road vehicles by 2020 to cut emissions and fossil fuel consumption.
The plan was published by the National Development and Reform Commission and National Energy Administration (NEA) Wednesday. Use of ethanol fuel is currently piloted in 11 provinces.
"Biofuel is renewable, versatile and environmental-friendly. It is an ideal alternative to fossil fuel," a senior NEA official said.
Ethanol fuel, known as E10, is ordinary gasoline with 10 percent ethanol added and believed to cut carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions.
More than 40 countries and regions consume about 600 million tonnes of ethanol fuel every year, around 60 percent of world annual gasoline consumption.
China is the world's third-largest bioethanol producer and uses nearly 2.6 million tonnes a year. Gasoline blended with ethanol accounts for one-fifth of its annual gasoline consumption. An advanced liquid biofuel system will be able to produce 50,000 tonnes of cellulosic ethanol a year by 2020.
Corn-to-ethanol programs began in 2004, but use of grain for ethanol production was banned in 2007 as a food security issue. Biofuel manufacturers have since turned to sweet potatoes, sorghum and straw stalks. Guangxi in south China was the first to commercially produce ethanol from cassava instead of grain. The ban has since been lifted.
A timetable is in consideration to phase out fossil fuel cars completely, following countries such as Britain and France. As the world's largest auto market, China is a staunch supporter of NEVs with tax exemptions, discounts for car purchases and an order for government organizations to buy more new energy cars.
Last year, China sold 507,000 NEVs, an increase of 53 percent. Sales of pure electric vehicles rose 65.1 percent, accounting for 80 percent of new energy vehicle sales.
China is to cut carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 and raise the share of non-fossil energy use in total consumption to about 20 percent.
Gasoline consumption hit nearly 120 million tonnes in 2016 in China, up 3.4 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.