In China, License Plates Cost More Than Cars

#Driving

Fri, May 3rd, 2013 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, in order to curb the increasing number of cars congesting Beijing's streets, the city introduced a license plate lottery, resulting in license plates costing almost four times as much as a car.

Shanghai officials have put in place a complicated — and expensive — process to purchase the right to add a car to the often-gridlocked roads of this city of 23 million people. To register for the license auction, prospective car buyers must put down 2,000 yuan as good faith money. In exchange, they get a disc loaded with software they can use to bid online. After a couple of rounds of offers, the government figures out the highest price it can charge to completely sell out the year’s new allotment of licenses. Lottery participants who had bid at least that much then get to pay for their plates.

As local officials grapple with growing traffic congestion and air pollution and seek new sources of revenue, more cities will impose license plate quotas, UBS (UBS) analysts predicted in January. Guangzhou (pop. 13 million) and Guiyang (pop. 4 million) already have them. Tianjin (pop. 13 million) may start them as early as May, China Youth Daily reported on April 11. “If the measures were followed by more Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities [China’s informal classification of medium-size metropolitan areas], the impact would be much bigger,” says Geely’s Ang.

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