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World’s Largest Auto Market to Restrict Car Purchases

China placing limits on buyers to address pollution, traffic problems.

by on Jul.11, 2013

Traffic congestion has become a major challenge in China, as has air pollution.

Struggling to cope with worsening smog problems even as the roadways in places like Shanghai and Beijing become choked with traffic, Chinese regulators plan to enact new restrictions limiting the number of vehicles that can be sold in a many key cities around the country.

Such limits are already in place in four major cities, and another eight will be added to the list, according to reports published today by China’s well-connected state media.  It’s not clear if the expanded list will make exceptions for those buying lower-polluting battery-cars, as has been the case in the past.

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China is now the world’s largest automotive market but the rapid growth – which neared triple digits during parts of the past decade and was running at over 9% on an annualized basis during the first half of 2013 – has had its cost.


Auto Boom Brings Challenges to China

The world’s largest car market discovers the perils of petroleum imports, smog and traffic.

by on May.26, 2011

A days-long traffic jam on the G-110 toll road into Beijing underscored the perils of China becoming a nation on wheels.

The People’s Republic of China faces a huge dilemma when it comes to cars.

On the one hand the swift rise of the Chinese automobile industry has brought jobs, investment and a huge measure of prestige to China over the past decade. Only last month, the Shanghai Auto Show eclipsed the New York Auto Show by attracting senior executives from Daimler AG, Toyota and Volkswagen, among others.  China’s hunger for new vehicles probably won’t peak for another decade, according to most estimates.

China is now the world’s largest automotive market, surpassing the United States and is unlikely to slip back into second place, noted Columbia University economics professor Jeffrey Sachs during a panel discussion at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Germany.

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However, Gao Honfeng, China’s vice minister of transport, told that same forum that China is acutely aware of the environmental and other hazards posed by the rapid development of its automotive culture.

There’s been a significant price tag for putting the nation on wheels: most notably in the form of paralyzing traffic jams, choking smog and a costly dependence upon foreign sources of energy.


60-Mile Chinese Traffic Jam Now In 12th Day

And you thought rush hour was bad?

by on Aug.25, 2010

A 60-mile tie-up that has frozen traffic onBeijing's G-110 national highway is now in its 12th day.

And you thought your commute was bad?  Even traveling the notorious I-405 corridor in Los Angeles is a snap compared to what motorists are facing on the G-110, a limited access highway leading into Beijing, where a monstrous, 60-mile traffic jam is now in its 12th day.

According to news reports out of the People’s Republic, it has been taking travelers as much as five days to work their way from one end of the snarl to the other, and at this point there appears to be no end in sight – quite literally.

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While Chinese traffic has grown steadily worse, in recent years, as more and more of the emerging middle class purchases automobiles, no one seems to have a clear explanation for why G-110 has ground to a complete halt.  But the Christian Science Monitor is reporting that the National Highway is overloaded with truck drivers carrying coal for the country’s energy-hungry capital – much of it illegal.