June 20 (Bloomberg) -- One of China’s most polluted cities has proposed to limit vehicle ownership through a lottery, becoming the latest locality to do so in the world’s largest auto market as air quality and traffic congestion worsen.
Shijiazhuang, the capital of steel-producing Hebei province surrounding Beijing, will restrict the number of new vehicles to 100,000 this year and limit households to owning two cars, according to a Shijiazhuang Daily report posted on the local government’s website yesterday. That quota will be cut to 90,000 in 2015, with a lottery being used to determine who can buy cars, the report said.
The proposals are at a preliminary stage and require hearings to be held before taking effect, an official at the city government’s news office said by telephone. He declined to give his name.
China has vowed to step up efforts to curb emissions after air pollution and worsening congestion sparked public anger. Shijiazhuang, which ranks among the worst in air quality according to the environment ministry, joins Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Guiyang in imposing vehicle quotas, even as cities compete for new plants built by automakers from General Motors Co. to Volkswagen AG.
“In the mid to longer term, there is higher likelihood we’ll see more and more cities imposing registration limitations,” said Klaus Paur, Shanghai-based global head of automotive coverage at researcher Ipsos. “The auto industry contributes a lot to development so there’s a trade-off to be made by each government, saying how much do I want my city to develop.”
The measures proposed by Shijiazhuang are part of the municipal government’s plan to cut levels of PM2.5 air particulates -- the smallest and most harmful to human health -- by 15 percent through the end of 2015. Other provisions include restricting the hours that heavy vehicles can enter city limits, imposing alternate-day use for passenger cars from next year, and requiring new autos to meet stricter emission standards.
China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection published a list of the 10 cities with the worst air pollution last month, with six of them located in Hebei province, including Shijiazhuang. That was unchanged from the list for the first quarter.
The city aims to limit the total number of vehicles to fewer than 2.3 million at the end of 2017 from a targeted 1.9 million this year.
Last week, Zhejiang province, which lies south of Shanghai on China’s eastern coast, proposed to allow its cities to limit the number of new vehicles, increase parking charges and improve public transportation to control traffic congestion.
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