In 2010, some 850,000 new cars were sold in Beijing, China. Since the city is already notorious for traffic congestion and air pollution, city officials realized that something had to be done to prevent perpetual gridlock. That something is the implementation of a lottery system for Beijing residents who wish to purchase new cars, effective immediately. The first lottery drawing is scheduled for January 26, when some 20,000 lucky motorists will be chosen from over 100,000 (and counting) entries. Lottery drawings will be repeated monthly, capping the number of new Beijing license plates available each year at 240,000.
If you already own a car and want to trade up, you don’t have to participate in the lottery as long as you sell your existing ride. Likewise, if your car is wrecked or stolen, you can replace it with another without having to enter the lottery. Since the lottery appears to be tied to vehicle licensing, I assume it would affect the sale of used cars as well, unless the current owner is willing to sell the license plate along with the car (which is probably illegal). That’s not the only change implemented by the city; cars with out-of-city license plates are now banned from driving in Beijing during peak travel times (presumably, the morning and evening rush hours). And you thought we had problems with traffic congestion in this country.