Chinese Embrace SUVs, Hummers as Status Symbols

Gas-guzzlers are popular in Beijing, if not in the West
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2008 7:00 PM CDT
A model poses beside the Chinese-made Longbo Hummer at the Auto China 2008 auto show in Beijing Tuesday April 22, 2008.    (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
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(Newser) – Demand for gas-guzzling SUVs keeps growing in China, where the vehicles have become status symbols. Even Hummers are selling fast, despite sky-high oil prices, the Financial Times reports. "There are plenty of other sources of pollution than cars, and life is short so we should enjoy ourselves anyway," says a Beijing executive.

The trend toward big cars among Chinese drivers is growing controversial, the Times notes. China is the world's biggest contributor to the annual rise in oil consumption, even as its gas prices are about 40 cents lower per gallon than in the US—and far below Europe. US Treasury chief Hank Paulson says he will urge China to raise prices to try to cut down on consumption.