In a bid to reduce pollution and smog surrounding the heavily polluted Chinese city of Shijiazhuang (try saying that three times fast), a new type of lottery is being introduced. But winning this lottery doesn’t yield financial independence and an extravagant lifestyle;  instead it entitles you to purchase a new vehicle.

She’s Got a Ticket to Ride

Permits to own a car in the city and allowing you to drive will be issued via a lottery, as the local officials have had to take drastic measures to reduce the smog and carbon footprint of the city.

Shijiazhuang, the capital of the steel-producing Hebei province which surrounds Beijing, has now become the latest locality from the largest auto market in the world to introduce such a measure. Other Chinese cities which have imposed a restriction on vehicle purchases include Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Guiyang.

The number of new vehicles in Shijiazhuang will be restricted to 100,000 for the year, and households within the city will be limited to owning “just” two cars each, according to the local government website.

The authorities go on to state that the number of new vehicles allowed will be further reduced to 90,000 in 2015, and those able to buy cars will be determined using a lottery format.

Efforts to Lower Emissions

This move comes as part of China’s vow to improve their efforts to lower emissions after public outrage was sparked by the increasing air pollution and congestion. Shijiazhuang currently ranks among the highest smog culprits; in fact, six of the top ten polluters in China are located in the Hebei province, according to a list published by the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The Chinese, of course, love to gamble, and many nations are even trying to gear certain attractions towards luring the Chinese gambling market to their doorsteps. And although it won’t be quite a PowerBall event with glamorous presenters and momentous jackpots, quite how they will feel about their vehicle purchases depending on a lucky dip in a lottery draw, as yet, remains to be unseen. But if they don’t like it, then their only other option is to continue to gamble on both their own health and the health of the planet.