PYONGYANG, North Korea - North Korea has experienced a rapid increase in the number of automobiles in its capital, which has triggered a corresponding rise in gasoline stations, the Korea Times reports.
Pyongyang visitors have pointed out the rising number of cars and gasoline stations. "Compared to some years ago, there has been a veritable boom in the use of cars. And, at the same time new gas stations have sprouted in Pyongyang, and even in the countryside," said a source and recent visitor, who asked for anonymity.
North Korea has seen consumption in its capital rising as the elite class continues to accrue wealth from more Chinese trade. The source indicated that the gasoline stations seemed to be government-owned but that operators view the business as a good opportunity.
Cars with the party used coupons to pay for the fuel, but drivers paying in hard currency got a discount. Many of the vehicles are still officially connected to the army, government or ruling party, but drivers increasingly use them privately.