The city government of Guangzhou, Guangdong province, is considering a ban on sales of new vehicles that do not meet the National VI emission standards.
According to a draft plan published on the Guangzhou Bureau of Environmental Protection website, the ban would start on Jan 1.
The bureau is soliciting public opinion on the draft until May 17, aiming to reduce vehicle emissions and combat worsening air pollution in the city.
If the draft is adopted, Guangzhou will become the first city in the province, and likely in the country, to introduce the National VI emission standard.
The city will also be four years ahead in implementing the strict emission standard, which environmental protection authorities ordered to be adopted across the country by 2023.
Under the draft, the requirements also apply to vehicles sold outside Guangzhou. Vehicles registered in the city before the end of year will be exempt.
Peng Peng, vice-chairman of the experts committee of the Guangdong-based South Nongovernmental Think-tank, said the draft plan would certainly help reduce emissions and ensure better air quality in Guangzhou.
"Vehicles are being required to reduce their emissions around the world," Peng told China Daily. The new measures will also help spur the development of Guangzhou's automobile industry, he said.
Peng urged government departments to introduce concrete and effective measures to gradually eliminate vehicles that fail to meet the country's emission standards.
"As the provincial capital, Guangzhou should take the lead in introducing even stricter emissions standards," he added.
Cheng Fangming, a Guangzhou driver, said he is in favor of the new draft plan because vehicles are a major culprit in air pollution.
"The new draft plan will help ensure an even better air environment and ease traffic jams when no new vehicles that fail to meet stricter emissions are allowed to operate in the city," he told China Daily.
The draft has little effect on those who purchased a car before January, he added.
But the regulations may also result in higher prices for cars in Guangzhou, said Hou Guobing, a local office worker.
According to data from local traffic police, Guangzhou has more than 15 million people and about 2.8 million registered vehicles. It began limiting car registrations in 2012 and plans to restrict the growing number of vehicles from outside the city later this year.
According to the Rules on the Management of Non-Guangzhou Registered Vehicles, vehicles from outside the city will be banned from operating on the city's roads for four days after being in the city for four days.
The rules are expected to take effect before the end of the year.