Traffic Jams, Automobiles, Oil and Gas, and Alternative Energy

Recently, the traffic jams in Beijing trouble the capital of People’s Republic of China, with intensity1. I had the experience of traffic jams in Beijing. Under such kind of dituations, the highways seemed to be a huge parking lot. Now people, including me, call Beijing as Top Jams (pronounced as shou 3 du 3 in Chinese) instead of capital (pronounced as shou 3 du 1). The traffic jams happened intenser and more frequently due to the increasing private cars, especially in the severe weather and holiday seasons2, 3. The monster traffic jam in mid-August make the capital seem to be a huge parking lot4, 5. Shai Oster stated that Beijing considers car limits to fight for the traffic jams in his blog6, actually the policy has been implemented for years. Starting in 2008, Beijing authorities started to limit the cars on road through having the drivers leave theirs at home once a week based on the last digit of the license plate6.. The problem is that some of the owner could buy the second car to avoid the limitation. That is not the only tradition Chinese have. Above I mentioned that the holiday seasons made the traffic jams worse. Each year, Chunyun (transportation in Spring Festivals) could move more than 2 billion people times7. This year, Beijing fell into its most severe traffic jam around mid-Autumn festival season3. According to Beijing Municipal Traffic Committee, the Beijing municipal government would invest 80 billion RMB in 2009 on transportation infrastructure construction to solve the traffic problems8. Obviously the construction has not solved the problem, yet. Actually, in my opinion, simply increasing the investment in transportation construction will never work, especially with the current urban planning and increasing cars.

The increases of private cars also push up the oil price. According to International Energy Agency outlook, the oil peak will not reach until 2035, and drives the oil price over $200 per barrel by 2035, equivalent to $113 in 2009 real dollars9. The demand by China is projected to account for 39% of rising energy demand and 57% of rising oil demand9. Kevin Clarke said that China does not have to take any lessons from America on consumption because the planet could not support the 1.3 billion people have the same standard living level as current Americans have10.The attitude is so negative that I could not agree with at all. We could not wait the day after tomorrow coming without any efforts. The alternative energy resources could solve the problem? I am highly doubting it. In fact I have some advices on how to deal with such a situation.

  1. Developing the public transportation with alternative energy resources.
  2. Limiting the private cars, especially with fossil fuel.
  3. Increasing the consumption tax on oil and gas.
  4. Lowering the gap between conventional and alternative energy prices.
  5. Improving the technology and energy efficiency
  6. Reducing the energy consumption.


  1. Beijing traffic jams only growing.
  2. Beijing roads choked by 140 traffic jams in a day.
  3. Traffic Jams In Beijing Reach New Records Of Congestion.
  4. Beijing: World’s Biggest Parking Lot.
  5. China Traffic Jam Could Last Weeks.
  6. Beijing, Fighting Traffic, Considers Car Limits.
  7. Chunyun.
  8. Beiijng strives to solve traffic problems.
  9. International Energy Agency says ‘peak oil’ has hit. Crisis averted?
  10. Take the next exit: Avoid an economic traffic jam.

3 Responses to Traffic Jams, Automobiles, Oil and Gas, and Alternative Energy

  1. Sigyn says:

    This is a good blog message, I will keep the post in my mind. If you can add more video and pictures can be much better. Because they help much clear understanding. 🙂 thanks Sigyn.

    • lizinan says:

      Hi, Sigyn,

      Your idea is nice. What kind of videos and pictures do you need? Actually the webpages mentioned in the post have bunches of them. May I can bring some videos and pictures with Chinese messages here later.

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