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Lottery lets less than 1 in 10 Beijing drivers buy new cars

A new car lottery turns away 10 out of 11 applicants who want to buy a new car in Beijing.

Arguably the world's most crowded city, Beijing is the sort of place where it often takes less time to walk somewhere than it does to drive. That's not to say that the city's insatiable appetite for new cars is dwindling, however, as its first-ever new car lottery wraps up this week.

Of the more than 187,000 Beijing residents who entered themselves in the lottery, just 17,600 were selected as winners. That might seem like great odds for Power Ball, but winners of this Beijing lottery only won the right to purchase a new car this year.

"I just don't understand why all of a sudden we have to win a lottery to buy a car," 32 year-old office worker, Alan Lin, told Reuters. "I thought the government has been encouraging domestic consumption."

Beijing's lottery stands in contrast to Shanghai's high new car taxes, which charge owners as much as $7,500 for each new car they own.

The lottery was one of Beijing's first efforts to curb its increasingly congested streets, where new car sales have taken off at sky-high rates unheard of in other countries. The city hopes that by cutting new car sales, it will reduce the number of new cars hitting the road by about a third compared to last year's 800,000 vehicles.