Production of large liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks broke records in 2017 as China curbs diesel in its battle against air pollution.
A total of 96,000 LNG trucks were produced last year, a sharp contrast to 19,600 in 2016, according to an industry report released on Tuesday.
Sales of LNG trucks in 2017 were estimated at 80,000 to 85,000, said the report.
"Gas trucks are both more environmentally friendly and more economical," said Wu Dongdong, an analyst with Zheshang Securities.
It is estimated that gas trucks can cut fuel costs by 61 yuan (9.5 U.S. dollars) per 100 kilometers, said Wu, adding that the demand for gas trucks will continue to rise in 2018.
The strong growth of gas truck production is part of China's continued battle against air pollution through encouraging the use of clean energy-powered vehicles and tightening control over pollutant emissions from new motor vehicles.
To cut vehicle exhaust emissions, Tianjin Port, the largest in northern China, stopped receiving diesel truck-transported coal last July. All coal in and out of the port has been carried by rail since the end of September, according to municipal environmental authorities.
China's pollution controls on motor vehicles should reach an advanced level by international standards by 2020, with at least 95 percent of scrapped vehicles recycled, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.