Beijing Smog Causes Emergency Plans, Ban Half Its Cars Each Day

In the 1970s, gasoline shortages led to the adoption of a temporary odd-even system for fuel purchases in parts of the U.S. Now, Beijing is instituting a similar system, but for a very different reason--to combat its notoriously heavy air pollution. The municipal government's plan calls for enacting the odd-even scheme if the local air-quality index for pollution stays above 200 for more than 72 hours. If that occurs, vehicles with license plates ending in an odd number will only be allowed on the road during odd-numbered days, while vehicles with even plates will be restricted to use on even-numbered days only. All-electric cars will be exempt from these restrictions.