The going rate for a license plate in Shanghai has hit an all-time high, topping $13,000 at the city's February auction. The one-time charge is more than the price of most vehicles built by China's domestic automakers, which makes it virtually impossible for them to sell cars in the country's largest city.
The cost of a license plate in Shanghai has risen steadily since 1994, when the city began auctioning them to restrict car sales and ease congestion.
The February average was 83,571 yuan, or about $13,300, 11 percent higher than in January. It was the first time the price topped 80,000 yuan, according to the city, which auctions 9,000 plates each month.
Shanghai is the only city in China that restricts vehicle sales by auctioning plates. Beijing, Guiyang and Guangzhou set quotas on the number of plates they release for free each month.