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Capital to cut back on license plates

By Wang Keju | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-16 10:31

Vehicles line up during a traffic congestion in Beijing, on June 15, 2016.  [Photo/Xinhua]

Beijing will further reduce the number of new vehicle license-plates it issues in the next three years - a move to reduce traffic gridlock and ease air pollution - authorities announced on Friday.

The Beijing Commission of Transport said the annual license plate quota in 2018 will be 100,000, a sharp reduction from this year's 150,000.

Of those issued, 60,000 will be assigned to new energy vehicles (the same as this year) and the remaining 40,000 to gasoline-powered cars, down from 90,000 this year.

The reduction will increase difficulties for car buyers, who must enter a license plate lottery to register new gasoline-powered cars.

By Dec 12, about 2.87 million people have put their names on the waiting list for a gasoline-powered car license, compared with more than 12,000 waiting for a new energy car license plate, the commission said.

"With improvements in the control of dust and industrial pollution, car emissions have become the major source of PM2.5 in Beijing," said Rong Jun, a spokesman for the commission. "To improve air quality, it's important to control the growth of vehicles."

The commission said that 95 percent of license plates for gasoline-powered cars will be assigned to individual owners - 38,000 altogether - with another 2,000 plates issued to other applicants. Ninety percent of new energy vehicles plates will go to individual owners (54,000), while institutional applicants will compete for the rest (6,000).

Meanwhile, the commission said those who are granted a new car license plate will have a longer time - a year instead of six months - to decide what car to buy. "The extension gives more time for plate owners to buy a car, instead rushing, which will also help to control the growth of cars to some degree," Rong said.

Beijing began restricting the growth of new vehicles in 2011 when it adopted the license plate lottery, and it has accomplished its goal of restricting the number of motor vehicles to 6 million by the end of this year, the commission said.

Some people have changed their minds about the kind of car they want to buy.

"I've noticed an increasing number of charging stations available to plug in electric vehicles in recent years. I'm now seriously considering turning to new energy cars," said Zhang Shengfeng, 27, who has been on the license plate waiting list for two years.


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