The State Council is taking the lead in going green. All government cars must be "economic, energy-saving, environmentally friendly and domestically manufactured" in future, and private use of official cars has been banned.
"All units should tighten the regulation of cars and cut down the size of the fleet to a controlled scale. The number of automobiles should not be increased unless a new department is formed," said a circular by the Government Office Administration of the State Council, China's Cabinet.
It said excess cars, or those violating pollution standards, should be removed from service by the end of this year.
The circular asked all officials to "strictly" abide by regulations on car use and be the first to use domestic, low-emission, manual-transmission cars.
"Except for special needs, all units, in principle, should not use off-road vehicles," it said.
The circular said departments could not purchase cars on their own without central government approval.
High-emission, heavy-pollution cars should be replaced before June 2008, the circular ordered.
Government departments were also told to use cars less often and more efficiently, use more public transport outside of Beijing, and avoid using official vehicles during festivals or large national events.
Official vehicles were not to be used in private business or leased for commercial purposes, the circular warned.
It also said that using seniority to gain the use of cars owned by lower-level departments, or accepting vehicle donations from private enterprises, were both strictly banned.
(Xinhua News Agency November 26, 2007)