Government of Mexico introduces first-ever fuel efficiency standard in Latin America for light duty vehicles
On June 21, 2013, Mexico took a big step towards a low-carbon economy and improved public health by implementing a new fuel efficiency standard for light vehicles in Mexico – the first fuel efficiency standard in Latin America. EMBARQ Mexico played a major role in developing this new standard, writing draft regulation, proposing mechanisms for economic flexibility, and assisting the government of Mexico during the negotiation process.
National fuel efficiency standards are a critical tool for reducing CO2 emissions and improving public health, and are common in developed countries. Yet, as of early 2013 Mexico was the only Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member country without a fuel efficiency standard, and the Mexican car industry was hesitant to support new regulation.
Fuel efficiency standard honored as one of WRI’s Top Outcomes
The EMBARQ Mexico team was integral to the implementation of the new standard, and their effort was recently honored as a 2013 Top Outcome of the World Resources Institute (WRI), the parent organization to EMBARQ. WRI is a global research organization that spans more than 50 countries, whose experts and staff work closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action to sustain our natural resources – the foundation of economic opportunity and human well-being. EMBARQ is the sustainable urban transport and urban planning program of WRI. Each fiscal year the institute reviews its work and identifies ten Top Outcomes that represent the greatest impacts WRI has had on the ground that year.
EMBARQ Mexico strengthens partnerships on the ground
For four years, EMBARQ Mexico and its partner organization Centro Mario Molina, a non-profit center that promotes sustainable development, successfully collaborated with the Mexican government to help develop a new fuel efficiency standard. Originally, the EMBARQ Mexico team offered the Mexican government their transport and economic expertise. Then, when negotiations between the government and the car industry broke down, EMBARQ and Centro Mario Molina stepped in to present Mexico’s National Environmental Ministry (SEMARNAT) with a fully written draft regulation that included strong technical support. This draft brought the automotive industry to the negotiation table, and won EMBARQ a voting seat on Mexico’s National Standardization Committee of Environment. Finally, on June 21, 2013, the final fuel efficiency standard was released, with recognition for EMBARQ’s contributions in the text published in the Official Journal.
Evaluating impact: What a fuel efficiency standard means for Mexico and the developing world
The new standard mandates a new vehicle fleet average of 14.9 kilometers per liter (35 miles per gallon) by 2016. This will mitigate 170 megatons of CO2 emissions – the amount of CO2 captured by a forest 10 times the size of Mexico City. The standard is an important win for people and the environment – consumers will save $2,700 USD in fuel over the lifetime of a regulated vehicle and $918 USD when purchasing a new car.
In addition, Mexico designed its standard based on U.S. and Canadian regulation, meaning that North America now has a harmonized fuel efficiency standard. Since Mexico exports 81% of its cars onto the global market, this regulation could make the Mexican car industry more competitive globally.
Mexico’s experience implementing a fuel efficiency standard, and the tools and methodology used to do so, can be replicated in other developing countries seeking to create a standard. Beyond progress towards a low-carbon economy and improving public health, expanding this fuel efficiency regulation throughout the developing world can help create incentives for an increasingly homogeneous and efficient global automotive industry.