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The Cost Of Driving In China- tolls greater than the cost of the fuel burned

Posted by Author on April 20, 2010

Paul Midler, The Forbes, 04.20.10 –

HONG KONG
— China will spend $300 billion on high-speed rail lines over the next 20 years. The world has seen nothing like it, and China-watchers have responded by drawing analogies to America’s transcontinental railroad, built in the 19th century, or its interstate highway system, built and expanded throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

High-speed rail is not the only thing on the nation’s infrastructure to-do list. China’s General Administration of Civil Aviation has budgeted $62 billion to build 100 new airports by 2020. All of this new infrastructure is being seen as the signs of progress, but what has been missed is how high-speed rail and the new airports are a way for China to get around a major problem it faces–an exorbitant, toll-based road system.

Have a mind to jump in your car and drive from Guangzhou to Beijing? Don’t forget to bring your wallet. The expressways connecting the south to Beijing are expensive, and a trip to the nation’s capital will run you close to $200 each way. Driving on toll roads in China–and almost all of the country’s expressways cost money–runs an average of 0.5 yuan (7 cents) per kilometer, or nearly 12 cents per mile. For many types of cars, the tolls are greater than the cost of the fuel burned.

The jacked-up cost of auto travel in China actually makes high-speed rail seem affordable, but tickets for high-speed trains are still out of reach for most Chinese. The speedy rail line meant to connect Beijing to the southern province of Fujian was closed after only two months in operation due to a lack of commercial interest…….(more details from The Forbes)

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