It’s no secret that Beijing has a smog problem. Earlier this year, the air pollution was so bad, it closed down highways, diverted planes, and stranded a cruise ship unable to dock. Smog is the world’s biggest health risk, and Beijing is renewing its push to curb the city’s air pollution.
Central to current efforts is a new plan to replace Beijing’s 67,000 gas-powered taxis with electric cars and instituting regulations requiring all new taxis to be electric-powered. This initiative won’t come cheap.
The taxi fleet conversion has an estimated price tag of $1.3 billion, with each electric vehicle going for $20,000 a pop—twice the price of a non-electric car. There are also rising concerns about the city’s lack of charging stations. Drivers remember waiting in lines for as much as six hours to use the stations installed in 2014, according to Inhabitat.
But according to Greenpeace, China’s persisting smog problem is more due to expanding steel manufacturing south of Beijing. The smog has been particularly bad lately because unusual wind patterns are blowing the pollution north.
A recent study from the scientific journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics found that winds are also sending smog from Asian countries like China and India to the Western U.S.