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Beijing hikes prices for gas, diesel oil
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Beijingers are paying more for gas and diesel oil Tuesday.

As of midnight, prices were up eight percent.

Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform issued a release about the price hikes late Monday. It said,benchmark prices for gasoline and diesel oil would be hiked 200 yuan and 290 yuan per ton, respectively.

After the adjustment, gasoline 93, the most commonly used type of gas, now sells for 6.37 yuan (.93 U.S. dollars) per liter, up 0.17 yuan from Monday. Gasoline 97 now retails at 6.78 yuan per liter, compared to 6.60 yuan before the adjustment.

In the meantime,retail prices for zero and minus 10-type diesel oils rose by 0.27 yuan and 0.28 yuan to hit 6.5 yuan per liter and 6.89 yuan per liter, respectively. Gasoline 90, and diesel oils minus 20 and minus 35 also went up in cost.

According to an official with China National Petroleum Corporation North China Branch, the cost increases were not large.

"Unlike the national price adjustment taken on June 20, the price hikes this time are regional ones which are meant to offset increased costs borne by oil companies for providing the Beijing market with improved processed oil products conforming with IV European standards," said the official under condition of anonymity.

The municipal government said, since the adoption of the IV European standards, there had been notable improvement in air quality in the national capital.

Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform promised to subsidize agriculture, forestry, mass transit and the taxi industries to reduce the impact of higher gas prices. It is also urging regulatory organizations to work hard to maintain a normal market by stepping up inspections and dealing with price violations.

The price hikes were frowned on by private car drivers. Liu Min, a resident who drives to work every day said, "I have been using gasoline 93 and I have to pay an extra 50 yuan per month because of the price hike. Take into consideration the new car ban policy that will become effective on Saturday, I don't think it's worthwhile to drive to work."

Beijing announced a series of post-Olympic car restrictions which will take effect this month. They are aimed at reducing traffic and pollution.

Under the new traffic restrictions, 30 percent of government vehicles will be take off roadways as of October 1, said a circular issued by the Beijing municipal government Sept. 28.

The remaining 70 percent of government vehicles, as well as all corporate and private cars, will take turns off the roads one out of five weekdays starting October 11.

Cars with plates ending with 1 or 6 are banned on Monday.Those ending with 2 or 7 will be banned Tuesday, 3 or 8 Wednesday, 4 or 9 Thursday and 5 or 0 Friday. The ban does not apply on weekends.

The ban is applicable within the Fifth Ring Road from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. for private cars and round the clock for government and corporate vehicles.

The new restrictions will take effect on a trial basis on October 11 for six months until April 10. It does not apply to police wagons, ambulances, fire engines, buses, taxis and other public service vehicles.

(Xinhua News Agency October 7, 2008)

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