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Bicycles Mean Less Demand for Fuel in East Asia

2017-10-08

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[00:00.00]
  • Millions of people in cities across Asia are using phone apps to borrow bicycles for local travel.
  • [00:08.93]
  • This kind of technology is made for people who want to leave cars and motorcycles at home, and avoid spending money on a taxi service.
  • [00:20.64]
  • The Reuters news agency reports that bicycle sharing has been rising in popularity in places like Beijing, Taipei and Singapore.
  • [00:32.53]
  • China’s Ministry of Transport reports that the two-year bike-sharing trend has put over 16 million bikes in China alone.
  • [00:43.31]
  • It adds that more than 100 million Chinese have registered for bike-sharing.
  • [00:50.92]
  • That has reduced car use and demand for gasoline.
  • [00:56.17]
  • Economists have predicted that demand for fuel will likely stop rising by the year 2025.
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  • “I often use bike-sharing services because it’s very convenient,” said 36-year-old Wei Zhang, who uses a shared bike several times a week to go to work.
  • [01:18.75]
  • “I can find it anywhere and will not worry about losing the bike,” the Beijing native added.
  • [01:26.00]
  • No one knows the exact number of bicycles on China’s streets or how much bike-sharing has affected fuel demand.
  • [01:37.17]
  • But the government, oil companies and a study by Reuters all found that fewer people are using cars.
  • [01:46.92]
  • “Bike-sharing has been crazy since late last year,” said Harry Liu, who works as an advisor for IHS Market.
  • [01:57.42]
  • He added that more people are using public transportation because they know they can finish their trip with a shared bicycle.
  • [02:08.81]
  • Even before the popularity of bike-sharing, observers were saying that the rising use of electric cars and better fuel efficiency meant an end for gasoline’s big growth story.
  • [02:24.94]
  • China’s gasoline demand growth is expected to slow to nearly 4 percent this year, compared with 6.5 percent growth last year.
  • [02:38.70]
  • That information comes from Sri Paravaikkarasu, head of East of Suez oil at Facts Global Energy.
  • [02:49.52]
  • Last month, a Chinese bike-sharing start-up company opened offices in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Washington, D.C.
  • [03:01.00]
  • The company, called Mobike, was launched in April 2016.
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  • Another Chinese company, Ofo, provides a similar service.
  • [03:13.14]
  • The two businesses have received more than $2 billion in private investment.
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  • Mobike has 7 million bicycles worldwide.
  • [03:26.02]
  • Ofo has more than 10 million, and plans to increase the number to 20 million in the next three months.
  • [03:35.15]
  • In Taiwan, the government supports a bike-sharing plan.
  • [03:40.55]
  • Officials hope to have 12 percent of commuters using bicycles in trips to work by 2020.
  • [03:49.72]
  • Five percent of commuters use bicycles now.
  • [03:53.13]
  • The Taipei city government hopes to have every citizen just 10 minutes from a bike by 2018.
  • [04:03.47]
  • Harry Liu of IHS said that bike-sharing could change the way people think about mobility and could change the transportation business.
  • [04:15.58]
  • I’m Susan Shand.
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