Oil Report

UPDATE 1-Mexico vows to set new efficiency rules for autos

(Adds background on alternative energy, efficient buildings)

MEXICO CITY, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Mexico will limit imports of inefficient used cars and encourage low-carbon technology to reduce its overall volume of tailpipe exhaust, the energy ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry said it was also mulling regulations that would for the first time set a national standard for auto emissions. Such standards would be at the “vanguard” of international best standards, the agency said.

Officials hope to slowly purge heavy, inefficient autos from among the roughly 21 million cars now on the road in Mexico. The nation’s auto fleet is expected to rise by more than 14 million vehicles by 2017.

Only 1 percent of Mexican automobiles currently use alternative fuel, the ministry said.

The new importation rules will aim to “avoid the accelerated aging of the Mexican car fleet,” the agency said in a statement.

A senior Mexican environmental policymaker said in August the country would likely adopt fuel efficiency standards compatible with those in place in the United States. [ID:nN03537208]

Mexico is one of the world’s largest car builders and most global auto companies have at least one factory in the country.

Stakeholders in the domestic auto market have long lobbied for limits to be placed on the import of older used cars from the United States to help support the domestic market.

The new goals were developed as part of a multi-year national plan to create a sustainable energy policy.

In a separate move, the ministry promised to outline new standards for energy efficiency in newly-built government offices. (Reporting by Patrick Rucker; Editing by Christian Wiessner)