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Beijing car sales spike; city nears 4 mil. autos

BEIJING -- Sales of new cars in Beijing have spiked to about 2,000 a day, a trend that will put up to four million vehicles on the streets of China's capital by year's end, state media said Friday. About 60,100 cars were sold in the month of August in Beijing — the largest number of auto purchases this year and nearly double the amount of vehicles sold in the same month in 2008, the China Daily said.

Similar monthly sales are expected through to December, with private buyers powering the spree, the paper said, citing Beijing auto dealers. Car purchases in Beijing averaged about 1,200 a day in the first seven months of 2009, earlier reports said.

If sales remains at 2,000 cars a day, the capital will have a total of four million vehicles on its already jam-packed roads by the end of 2009, the paper said — an increase of one million cars in just two years.

Beijing has for years been one of the most polluted cities in the world, due in part to the fast-rising number of cars on the roads.

The government has implemented several policies to try to curb air pollution, including traffic control measures, moving factories out of the city, and requiring cars and buses to use cleaner fuels.

But the China Daily reported that some wealthy people were trying to skirt vehicle controls, which require motorists to keep their cars off the roads one day a week, by buying a second or even a third vehicle.

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