Remember all the way back to a year-and-a-half ago, when the Beijing Olympics brought the attention of the world's to the city's dirty skies? Remember how the city limited traffic for a little while, even after the Olympics? For a while, there was talk that only 100,000 new license plates would be granted annually. But, now that most of the attention has shifted away, the city government is taking a friendlier stance towards automobiles.

With over four million registered vehicles in the city as of the middle of December (about 66 for every 100 households), the streets are pretty packed. Instead of limiting car sales – as had been the plan – the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform said it will instead make driving those vehicles in urban areas more expensive by upping parking fees. This way, it seems, the government can get the tax benefits from sold vehicles and more money from parking. The government is also promising more rail transit lines to give city residents an alternative to the car, which might someday slow down the increased car sales there. Maybe.

[Source: People's Daily via Green Car Congress | Image: poeloq - C.C. License 2.0]

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