Traffic, pollution cause Chinese cities to slow new car sales

Dalian will become the fifth China city to restrict new car sales, reflecting the country's growing emissions and traffic issues and the government's efforts to deal with them, Automotive News reports. Beijing, Shanghai, Guiyana and Guangzhou already have sales restrictions, and Hangzhou and Chengdu may soon join the list. The new laws are part of a broader effort that includes charging an air pollution tax and scrapping older vehicles and has caused vehicle sales to plummet by as much as 50 percent in certain areas. The scrapping program, part of Beijing's Clean Air Act, was announced in September.

Pollution in China is no joke, with the dirty air causing untold health effects as well as logistical problems like closed airports and roads. The pollution problem has gotten so bad that the US has offered to work with China on addressing it. Upon US Vice President Joe Biden's recent visit to China, the US said it will work with China on a mandate that will require cars to include filters that capture particulate matter, which creates smog. China earlier this year also enacted what's believed to be its first-ever fuel-economy standards that mandate fleetwide fuel economy of 34 miles per gallon by 2015. Even with the sales restrictions, vehicle ownership in China is estimated to surge to more than 200 million units by 2020, up from 120 million at the end of 2012.

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