China’s state-regulated fuel prices were below international levels for years, but the recent drop in crude oil prices has boosted China’s retail prices in comparison — hopefully allowing officials to cut prices and introduce a fuel tax without upsetting motorists. Crude oil cost US$55 a barrel this week, more than 60% below the record high of US$147 in July.
"The announcement will come very soon, and actually specific plans were suggested to the government long ago," said Han Wenke, director general of the research body.
The tax – which has been debated for more than a decade – is meant to replace road tolls as a method for funding highway construction. Experts expect current retail pump prices to rise by more than 25%.
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