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2008年7月30日 (水)


(Mainichi Japan) July 29, 2008

Surging gas prices hurting car rental, parking businesses, but traffic accidents falling

ガソリン高騰:異変 駐車場埋まらず 事故減 高速道緩和

Surging gasoline prices in Japan are turning more people away from driving, resulting in declining sales for car rental businesses and parking lot operators, but at the same time, traffic congestion and accidents also appear to be falling.

At one car rental business in Tokyo's Koto-ku, a 68-year-old man who came to return a vehicle appeared irritated by the high cost of gasoline.

"Don't you have any cars that are more fuel-efficient?" he asked a worker at the business.

The customer borrows a van two or three times a month to deliver paintings to clients in Tokyo and surrounding areas. He says he has to think about the distance and the time he travels to save money on fuel.

According to the major car rental business Nippon Rent-A-Car Service, the number of customers who opt for fuel-efficient cars has been increasing, with many choosing smaller engine capacities. The length of time people borrow a vehicle has also been decreasing. In June, the company's sales fell by 1.2 percent.






surrounding area=周辺の地域

opt for=~を選ぶ、~を求める、~の傾向がある、~しがちな 発音注意:アプトと発音される

Parking businesses have also suffered financially. The operator of one parking building near JR Okachimachi Station in Tokyo's Taito-ku said that compared to last year, earnings have dropped 10 percent.

"Business has fallen further in July," the operator sighed.

Officials at the Japan Parking Association, which represents about 800 parking businesses says that since June, when gasoline prices rose across Japan, the number of vehicles using paid parking has fallen by 10 to 20 percent. An association official said that there were probably more households cutting back on traveling expenses as they confronted soaring food prices.


suffered financially=経済的打撃を被る

compared to...=…にくらべて、…と比較して

across Japan=日本全国で

cut back on...=…に使うお金を切り詰める、節約する



At the same time, however, the number of traffic accidents in Tokyo has fallen, and traffic congestion has eased significantly. In the first six months of this year, the number of accidents in the capital (excluding accidents involving only property damage), stood at 30,075, a drop of 3,990 accidents compared with the same period the previous year. The number of fatalities during the period also fell to a post-war low of 96 -- 34 fewer people than during the same period a year earlier.

Metropolitan Expressway Co. officials said that between January and May, traffic was backed up for an average of 39 kilometers at 11 a.m. on weekdays, making lines an average of 12 kilometers shorter than during the same period the previous year.

A Metropolitan Police Department representative said people appeared to be cutting back on the use of their vehicles.

"It appears that as people hold back from using their vehicles and traffic on the road decreases, the number of accidents has also fallen," the representative said.


traffic accidents=交通事故

traffic congestion=交通渋滞

eased=軽減する (has been eased でも可、自動詞を使うか他動詞を使うかによる)


accidents involving only property damage=自損事故

stood at...=…にとどまる

compared with... =…に比べて、…と比較して

previous year=昨年


post-war low=戦後最低の

a year earlier=一年前

MetropolitanExpressway Co.= 首都高、首都高速道路

be backed up for... = …で占められている、…の距離の渋滞で占められている

the previous year=昨年

Metropolitan Police Department=警視庁

cut back on ... = …につき節約する、切り詰める

hold back from ... = …をさしひかえる from の後には名詞、動名詞が続く

ガソリン高騰:異変 駐車場埋まらず 事故減 高速道緩和









(毎日新聞 2008729日 1500分(最終更新 729日 1500分)


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