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Shanghai to Relax Limits on Small Cars
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China's business and financial hub Shanghai has begun removing restrictions on smaller cars, allowing small, low emission cars to run on its once prohibited main roads and motorways as of Tuesday.


The posters saying "NO SMALL CARS ON INNER RING MOTORWAYS IN RUSH HOURS" were all replaced with green posters saying that "ONLYCARS COMPLYING WITH THE ENVIRONMENT" before Feb. 15, local traffic police said.


Experts believed the act is meant to restrict only cars that cannot comply with the environment protection policies, a big departure from the banning of all vehicles with engines smaller than 1.2 liters from entering its inner ring motorways in rush hour.


The metropolis started to issue vehicle owners special marks testifying that their cars comply with the environment on January 20, 2005, which served as the only passes as a new ban was imposed on February 15.


Shanghai has issued such marks to around 430,000 cars, 75.6 percent of the number of cars that can apply directly, according to the local traffic police bureau.


China has ordered an end to all restrictions on small, low-emission cars by the end of March and also called on local governments to lower taxes and parking charges for small cars to encourage sales.


The measure is supposed to help improve the environment and alleviate energy shortages.


A Shanghai municipal government spokesman made clear on one occasion that the city would inspire the manufacture and use of small, low-emission cars.


Shanghai decided to ban all vehicles that could not meet emission standards equivalent to the European I Standard to travel on its elevated motorways in rush hour as of Feb. 15, 2006. The prohibited area will be enlarged to include all roads in its inner ring from Oct. 1.


(Xinhua News Agency February 17, 2006)

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