China In the Fast Lane
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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Removal of the ban came as pressure mounts on city administrators to tackle horrible traffic congestion, air pollution and possible fuel supply, caused to a large extent by a rapidly growing number of cars on the road. PHOTO: First snow in Beijing Dec. 31, 2005, courtesy of China Daily.
In the first 10 months of 2005, China's exported autos increased 133.6 percent year on year. For the first time, auto exports exceeded the import by 7,000 units, including 105 electric cars exported to the U.S. Photo of Miles ZX-40, an electric car it plans to import from China.
Chinese vehicles will be a threat to established U.S. auto sellers because vehicles from China are likely to be much cheaper than those from Europe, Japan or North America.
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