February 26, 2019 / 11:23 PM / 3 months ago

Mexican judge rules against higher ethanol mix in gasoline

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A judge in Mexico has ruled against a 2017 measure that allows higher ethanol levels in gasoline, saying it could worsen air quality, attorneys for environmentalists fighting the provision said on Tuesday.

Mexico raised its cap on ethanol in gasoline to 10 percent from 5.8 percent in 2017, even as environmentalists warned that the action would exacerbate pollution.

The Feb. 11 ruling opens the door to reversing that action, said Juan Pedro Machado, an attorney for environmental activists who contested the ethanol increase. The guidelines will remain in place as the matter goes to a higher court for a final decision, he added.

The measure, which made gasoline imported and sold in Mexico similar to gasoline in the United States, excluded several of the country’s densest regions, including Mexico City.

However, the judge said the capital could still be affected and that Mexico’s energy regulator must write a new measure that takes into account the human rights to a healthy environment.

Pro-ethanol groups say the chemical product ensures cleaner fuels and does less environmental harm.

Mexico’s energy regulator said on Tuesday it had 10 days to file an appeal from the date it was notified, but did not specify whether it would do so.

Ethanol producers in the United States have shown growing interest in exporting to Mexico, among other countries, in search of new markets.

Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Leslie Adler

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