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Beijing Considers Free Parking for Electric Cars
   2015-02-27 14:49:19    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Xie Tingting

High-rise buildings are seen in haze in the Central Business District in Beijing on March 27, 2014. [File Photo: Imagine China]

Electric car drivers may soon be able to enjoy cheaper or even free parking in Beijing, as the city's policymakers are working on a new pricing scheme in their latest effort to reduce air pollution.

The Beijing municipal government is hoping to finalize the new scheme before the end of March, the Beijing Times reported.

The scheme will allow alternative-fuel cars including electric and hybrid vehicles to be exempt from parking fees and tolls.

Parking rates differ from area to area in the city. For private cars, the most expensive rate is 10 yuan (US$1.6) for the first hour, and 15 yuan (US$2.4) per hour thereafter.

In its 2015 plan to improve the city's air quality, the local government has set 84 goals such as ensuring that 70 percent of new buses will be electrically powered, and reducing the annual average concentration of PM2.5 by 5 percent of 2014 level.

PM2.5 is a kind of air pollution that can threaten the health when in higher concentrations. In 2014, Beijing's annual average PM2.5 concentration was 85.9 micrograms per cubic meter. According to the World Health Organization, an annual average concentration of 10 micrograms per cubic meter is considered safe.

Over the years, Beijing has introduced a number of measures to cope with air pollution. In 2011, the city limited the number of cars by introducing a license plate lottery. Would-be car buyers had to win the lottery to become eligible to buy a car.

In the most recent round of the lottery, the winning rate was only 0.6 percent, meaning only one out of 164 would-be car purchasers got the opportunity.

There are more than 5.5 million automobiles registered in Beijing. The city aims to limit the number to 5.75 million this year.

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