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October 30, 2010

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Home » Metro » Public Services

No plans to end car plate auction

SHANGHAI has no immediate plans to scrap its car plate auction system as this policy is helping create an eco-friendly city, an official has said.

This ended long-time speculation that Shanghai, the only city in China that auctions car plates, planned to drop the scheme.

The auction system was introduced in 1994 with the aim of restricting the number of vehicles on city streets. Car plates are sold by "silent auction" - where would-be buyers submit their bids without knowing what competitors are offering. The highest bids secure the plates.

Recently, some 9,000 car plates have been auctioned each month, selling for 43,271 yuan (US$6,486) on average.

Zhou Ya, deputy director of the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission, said the city will continue to auction car plates in order to control the number of private cars and encourage people to use public transport.

"The biggest source of pollution remains vehicle emissions in Shanghai's downtown area. The city still needs the current system to implement its 'low-carbon' transport strategy and control car numbers," Zhou said.

Officials estimate that since its introduction the system has kept at least 2 million cars off Shanghai's roads.

But the auction has also been widely criticized, with claims that car dealers manipulate prices and complaints about a lack of transparency in how auction revenue is spent.

In February 2009, Huang Rong, director of Shanghai's construction and traffic commission, said that the car plate auction system may be phased out in the long run, though no timetable was offered.

Prices reached more than 50,000 yuan in 2007, when competition for plates was fierce.

This month, the average price for a private car plate settled at 43,271 yuan, up 1,091 yuan from a month earlier.

Authorities adjust the quota based on market demand.

This year that has ranged from 7,500 plates in February to a high of 9,200 in June. Since July, 9,000 plates have been auctioned each month.


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