September 7, 2010

China’s Vehicle Numbers Will Double by 2020

A top Chinese official was quoted Monday as saying that the number of vehicles on the country's roads will more than double to at least 200 million by 2020.

Wang Fuchang, vice minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, told China Securities Journal that the country must make it a top priority to develop fuel-efficient and alternative energy cars.

Last year, China's auto sales hit 13.64 million units, overtaking the U.S. as the world's top car market.

According to government figures, there were 76.2 million vehicles in China at the end of 2009.

China's auto sales have slowed in recent months, mostly because of seasonal factors.  However, August saw a surprising 55.7 percent year on year jump due to Beijing's new subsidies for energy-saving vehicles.

The rise in the use of vehicles has brought mounting concerns over pollution, soaring energy demand, and traffic gridlock.

A top official with China's environment minister, Liu Ziquan, told reporters on Monday that vehicle exhausts had overtaken other major sources as the top cause of air pollution in cities.

Road congestion has also grown worse, which brings attention to a recurring traffic jam that expands dozens of miles long on a major highway leading into Beijing from the northwest.