The growth in automotive sales in China is unlike anything the world has previously experienced, and as a result, Chinese government officials continue to have difficulty determining the role that motor vehicles should play. Beijing, for example, recently lifted most regulations on car usage, but the congestion and pollution are bad enough to make the city's major consider putting strict regulations back in place before the 2008 Summer Olympics come to town.The growth in automotive sales in China is unlike anything the world has previously experienced, and as a result, Chinese government officials continue to have difficulty determining the role that motor vehicles should play. Beijing, for example, recently lifted most regulations on car usage, but the congestion and pollution are bad enough to make the city's mayor consider putting strict regulations back in place before the 2008 Summer Olympics come to town.

In general, China's central planners have to walk a tightrope, carefully balancing the economic boom caused by car sales against the dramatically increased pollution, traffic congestion, and oil demand that has come with them. And the problem is not going to get any easier to solve as time goes on; there is only 1 car for every 50 people in China right now, and the total number of vehicles on the road is expected to grow by 400% in the next 15 years.

Coming soon will be air-quality rules expected to be comparable to those in Western countries (if not even more strict), and higher gas prices, road-use fines, and improved mass transit systems are being suggested as ways to minimize traffic slowdowns.

[Source: Pittsburg Post-Gazette]