China In the Fast Lane

China's economic growth is in the fast lane, and it means higher prices at the pump for the rest of us.

Published: 13-Jun-2005

BEIJING - To understand why Americans are paying more at the pump these days, all you need to do is take a look at Beijing's freeways.

Just like Houston's Loop 610 at rush hour, Beijing's Third Ring Road runs bumper to bumper as commuters make their way from jobs in towering skyscrapers to homes in the suburbs, burning gasoline as never before.

While idling in traffic, members of China's emerging middle class get an eyeful of slick billboards advertising sprawling golf course communities, perfectly "feng shui-ed" luxury high-rises and neat-as-a-pin, single-family dwellings away from the urban chaos — think Pulte homes with pagoda roofs.

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