| MEXICO CITY
MEXICO CITY Jan 17 Mexico announced a relaxed
fuel-efficiency rule on Thursday for locally sold cars as it
seeks to alleviate the concerns of automakers that have filed
legal challenges that could derail the country's efforts to curb
The government is seeking to apply to its own fleet
regulations similar to those in the United States and Canada,
pushing for a fuel-economy rate of 14.9 km per liter, or 35
miles per gallon, by 2016.
Toyota and other automakers with a strong presence
in Mexico, the world's eighth largest car producer, sued the
government last year when the first version of the rules was
presented, and succeeded in halting their implementation.
The Mexican Auto Industry Association had complained the
original proposal was stricter than the U.S. version.
The modified version gives carmakers flexibility similar to
that allowed in the United States. For example, a company can
apply credits from a year in which it more than meets efficiency
requirements to a year in which it misses the targets.
"It's indispensable for us to align these standards," the
new environment minister, Juan Jose Guerra Abud, told a news
The controversy highlights resistance by Mexico's
manufacturing sector to the low-carbon regulations Mexico has
been trying to introduce in the past few years.
Early last year, then-President Felipe Calderon's
administration had to tweak the climate change bill to ease
industrial concerns before it c o uld win congressional approval.
Mexico has an ambitious target of cutting greenhouse gas
emissions by 30 percent by 2020, and 50 percent by 2050.
The energy sector accounts for up to 70 percent of Mexico's
emissions and almost 30 percent of that share is
Reducing the amount of fuel necessary to move Mexico's fleet
is an important step for the country to reach its target, the
Guerra Abud, who took office last December in the Cabinet of
the new president, Enrique Pena Nieto, said neither carmakers
nor environmental groups had seen the revamped proposal, but had
been informed of its principles.
"We are all in agreement that (with) this rule ... we are
not making emissions standards more flexible, but we are
granting flexibility to the rule that the United States is
already giving to companies," Guerra Abud said.
Abud said some of the lawsuits were being withdrawn and
hoped the rule, which does not require congressional approval,
could take effect by January 2014.