The Korea Herald

ssg
소아쌤

Korea records first-ever drop in fuel-powered vehicle count

By Moon Joon-hyun

Published : Jan. 19, 2024 - 15:08

    • Link copied

A Seoul city government vehicle patrols roads to detect fuel-powered vehicles with outdated emissions systems (Euro 1 to Euro 3 for diesel vehicles) on Jan. 9. (Yonhap) A Seoul city government vehicle patrols roads to detect fuel-powered vehicles with outdated emissions systems (Euro 1 to Euro 3 for diesel vehicles) on Jan. 9. (Yonhap)

South Korea saw its first-ever decline in the overall number of registered fuel-powered vehicles last year, as reported by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Friday.

The total number of registered vehicles powered by gasoline, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas fell by 85,000 to 23.647 million last year. This 0.4 percent decrease, the first since record-keeping began in the 1960s, was mainly driven by a downturn in diesel and liquefied petroleum gas vehicles, despite the registration of gasoline vehicles seeing a 2 percent uptick.

Several factors contributed to the decline, such as governmental policies aimed at reducing vehicle pollution. These include retiring older, more polluting vehicles, particularly those running on diesel, enforcing operational limitations in Seoul, and offering financial incentives to owners for scrapping their high-emission vehicles.

The total number of vehicle registrations, including traditional and eco-friendly models, increased by 1.7 percent to 25.49 million vehicles. Gasoline cars comprise over half the total at 12.31 million, while diesel vehicles follow at 9.5 million.

Eco-friendly vehicles, at 2.12 million, represented nearly 1 in every 12 vehicles. Within this category, hybrids account for about 72 percent, electric vehicles for around 26 percent, and hydrogen-powered vehicles, alongside others, fill the remaining 2 percent.

The eco-friendly segment grew to a total count of 2.12 million registrations, a 33.4 percent jump from the previous year. This figure includes 154,000 electric vehicles, up 39.5 percent, 46,000 hydrogen vehicles, up 15.6 percent, and 372,000 hybrid vehicles, up 31.7 percent.

Despite this growth, the rate of the increase in electric vehicle count slowed compared to the previous year's 51 percent rise, showing a potential moderation in the adoption rate of EVs.

The government has been gradually withdrawing support for hybrid vehicles. It discontinued purchase subsidies for hybrid electric vehicles in 2019 and ended subsidies for plug-in hybrids in early 2021. Plans are in place to remove hybrids from the eco-friendly category by 2025 or 2026.