Earlier this week we learned that Shanghai will start subsidizing its taxi drivers due to “soaring” fuel prices locally. Each taxi driver will receive an extra 412 yuan ($51) a month from the Shanghai government and the taxi companies. Drivers who share a car and work in shifts will receive 275 yuan ($34) per month. Shanghai has 43,000 taxis shared between 100,000 drivers that carry about 3 million passengers each day. (Shanghai also has about 42 functioning seat belts.) According to Xinhua, fuel prices increased 6 percent on July. Of course, they didn’t mention what the prices actually are. And Shanghaiist can’t remember the last time we actually saw a gas station.
Thankfully, Shanghai blogger extraordinaire Wang Jian Shuo tells us. He said 93 octane gas went from 3.96 RMB per liter to 4.26. That means the price is $1.99 a gallon now. But really Jian Shuo, do you need to put premium grade gas in your car?
A quick search of the internet shows how fuel prices in China have fluctuated over the past couple years. In December 2003, the price of 90 octane was 2.98 RMB per liter ($1.39 a gallon). In October 2004, a story said taxis would pay no more than 2.59 per lliter ($1.21 a gallon) — Shanghaiist, by the way, is not sure whether taxis still get a discount today. In March of this year, gas prices went up 8 percent, making 90 octane 3.67 RMB per liter ($1.71 a gallon). And then in May prices went down for the first time since 2002 — 93 octane was 3.55 per liter ($1.66 a gallon), 17 percent lower than where it is today. But hey, it could be worse — much worse. We could live in Teeside.
Or you could just decide to give up gas altogether. Move to the USA — they have these things called “rickshaws” there.
UPDATE: Wang Jian Shuo says cabbie compensation not much, but “better than nothing”
GasBuddy.com — Find cheap gas prices in your city (US and Canada only right now)