Local automakers and importers of foreign vehicles in South Korea will be fined for cars that fail to meet minimum requirements on fuel efficiency, the government said Wednesday.
Under the revised law on energy use, car manufacturers and importers will be fined 82,352 won ($76.49) for every vehicle and for every 1 kilometer/liter that falls below the minimum fuel efficiency, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
This means a car manufacturer that sells 100,000 cars that each falls behind in fuel efficiency by 1 km/l will be fined over 8.2 billion won. An automaker that sells the same number of cars but lags behind the minimum fuel efficiency by 2 km/l will be fined 16.4 billion won. The maximum amount of fines is 1 percent of their annual sales.
The minimum fuel efficiency has been set at 17 km/l for 2014 and 2015.
The ministry said the automakers and importers, however, will be allowed to choose instead to follow the environment protection law that limits greenhouse gas emissions.
"To help minimize additional burdens on automakers and car importers, the government will allow them to choose between requirements for fuel efficiency or greenhouse gas emissions to follow," the ministry said.
The environment protection law levies 10,000 won fines for every 1 gram of carbon dioxide equivalents in excess of allowed greenhouse gas emissions. For the 2014-2015 period, the maximum level of greenhouse gas emissions for vehicles has been set at 140 grams per kilometer.
"A manufacturer or importer of cars that has more focus on greenhouse gas emissions than fuel efficiency can choose to follow the environment protection law," said Na Seong-hwa, the head of the ministry's energy efficiency cooperation division.
Currently, seven out of 23 automakers and vehicle importers have chosen the environment protection law over fuel efficiency, she added.
Under the revised law on energy use, set to go into effect Thursday, false or inaccurate description of fuel efficiency for any energy-consuming devices, including home appliances, will also be fined up to 20 million won, up from 5 million won, the ministry said. (Yonhap News)