Armonización de políticas para vehículos ligeros nuevos en América del Norte: Estándares de eficiencia energética, gases de efecto invernadero y contaminantes criterio

El “Taller de armonización de políticas para vehículos ligeros nuevos en América del Norte: Estándares de eficiencia energética, gases efecto invernadero y contaminantes criterio” se llevó a cabo en la Ciudad de México el 9 y 10 de Julio, 2014. La Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT) y el ICCT organizaron el evento, con el apoyo y participación del Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático (INECC), el Secretario de Economía (SE) y la Comisión Nacional en el Uso Eficiente de Energía (CONUEE). La Iniciativa Global de Rendimiento de Combustible (GFEI, por sus siglas en inglés), y la Coalición de Calidad de Aire y Cambio Climático (CCAC, por sus siglas en inglés) patrocinaron y participaron en el evento. El resumen del evento está disponible solamente en ingles y la programas y presentaciones completas están abajo.

The “Workshop on harmonization of light-duty vehicle policies in North America: Standards for energy efficiency, greenhouse gases, and criteria pollutants” took place in Mexico City on July 9-10, 2014.The Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and ICCT organized the event, which was co-hosted by the National Institute on Ecology and Climate Change (INECC), the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (CONUEE) and the Secretary of Economy (SE). The Coalition for Clean Air and Climate (CCAC) and the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) sponsored and participated in the event.

More than 120 people participated in the two-day workshop. Each of the host agencies and sponsors spoke at the workshop. There was strong participation by the private sector, including all major vehicle manufacturers, U.S. and Mexican automobile manufacturing associations, and emissions control and parts suppliers and supplier associations. There was also strong participation by civil society, academia, media, and other relevant government agencies.

The workshop was timely as the automobile sector in Mexico is soaring. Currently the world’s eighth largest automaker, Mexico is expected to surpass Brazil to take the seventh position when the 2014 numbers are complete.  A great majority of vehicles produced in Mexico are intended for North American markets of the United States and Canada, home to some of the world’s most advanced vehicle regulations.

One critical finding of the workshop was that advanced new vehicle standards and access to ultralow sulfur fuels were cornerstone policies, necessary in efforts to clean up the existing and future vehicle fleets. Fuel quality concerns are well on their way to being solved in Mexico, but action is needed on vehicle standards if Mexico is to take full advantage of the opportunity provided by that cleaner fuel. The costs to move to the cleanest emissions standards are very low for gasoline passenger vehicles, with cost estimates to move immediately to Tier 2 standard ranging from 15 to 50 dollars per car. Diesel vehicles will be more expensive as they are significantly further delayed in terms of current emissions standards and will require a leap to completely new emissions control technologies, including diesel particulate filters and selective catalytic reduction for control of NOx.

Harmonization of efficiency standards throughout North America can reduce compliance costs for manufacturers and allow the Mexican government to take advantage of the millions of dollars of research and analysis in support of adopted policies in the U.S. and Canada. Computer-aided design is helping to rapidly reduce costs for efficiency technologies. Furthermore, consumers quickly recoup incremental costs through savings at the gas pump. New turbocharging and transmission technologies reduce concerns about high altitude and since the average vehicles sold in Mexico are smaller and lower power than in the U.S. and Canada, Mexico would have an easier path to harmonized standards.

At the same time, by providing a clear contrast with existing vehicles and through adoption of comprehensive on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems, advanced new vehicle standards can also facilitate adoption of a suite of policy measures intended to reduce emissions from in-use vehicles and imported used vehicles. Policies discussed in the workshop included fuel prices, low emission zones, improved and streamlined in-use testing, effective scrappage programs, and restrictions on used vehicle imports. Providing more complete and accessible information to consumers is also critical. A more complete recap of the agenda is provided below.

After a high-level opening panel by the host agencies, Dr. Amparo Martínez Arroyo, Director of INECC, delivered a keynote speech on the importance to México of control of vehicle emissions. Dr. Stephen Perkins, Research Director on the International Transport Forum of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and a representative of GFEI, followed this with a keynote on regulatory progress and impacts of vehicles around the world.

Eduardo Solis of the Mexican Association of the Automobile Industry (AMIA) led off the first panel with insight into the dramatic growth of light-duty vehicle manufacturing in México. Two representatives of SEMARNAT—Sylvia del Carmen Treviño, the Director General of Environmental, Urban, and Touristic Development, and Beatriz Bugeda, the Director General of Climate Change—explained the currently regulations in Mexico and the goals established by the Special Program on Climate Change. Marcos Pérez, Director of Product Development at Ford México discussed Ford’s plan to migrate state-of-the-art technologies, including light-weighting and more efficient engine designs, into the global fleet. Iván Islas, Director of Environmental Economy at INECC, then provided results on the efficiency and emissions of the current new vehicle fleet in Mexico.

Dr. Alberto Ayala, the Deputy Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board, and Ed Crupi, Senior Regulatory Policy Advisor at Environment Canada, provided information and insight on current and future light-duty vehicle regulations in the rest of North America. This was complemented in the second panel with a detailed review of studies costs and potential benefits from new efficiency technologies by John German, Senior Fellow at the ICCT. In the third panel, Marco Galindo, Diesel Systems Manager at Bosch, Joe Kubsh, Executive Director at the Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association, and Francisco Posada, Senior Researcher at ICCT, elaborated on the technologies required and costs associated with moving to the most advanced standards for control of conventional pollutant emissions, including on-board diagnostic systems and the in-use issues that continue to plague light-duty diesels.

Key regulatory staff at SEMARNAT, CONUEE, and SE were joined by Alberto Ayala and Benjamin Teitelbaum, Special Projects’ Coordinator at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, to discuss the key findings of the day and the opportunities and obstacles ahead for Mexico, in a very interesting panel moderated by Jose Carlos Fernández, General Direction of Environmental Policy and Economy at INECC.

The second day focused on control of emissions from in-use and used vehicles. The first panel investigated the sales of and emissions from the current fleet as well as the trends and influencing factors in the import of used vehicles. The second panel discussed consumer information and incentives. Gianni Lopez, the Executive Director of the Centro Mario Molina Chile presented on the labeling program and other policies in Chile. Iván Islas talked about the Ecovehículos website and the information available to consumers in México. And Carlos Muñoz gave an interesting presentation on the level of externalities—the costs associated with road use, local and global pollution, and other impacts of passenger vehicle use—that are not recovered through existing taxes and fees. The third panel considered programs to control emissions from in-use vehicles, including a presentation from Jorge Macias of the Environmental Commission of the Megalopolis (CAM) on low emission zone and presentations on federal and local vehicle inspection and maintenance programs. Francisco Posada presented results from remote sensing and portable emission monitoring campaigns in different parts of the world that show continued challenges for diesels in reducing NOx emissions. Francisco highlighted the need for on-going compliance and enforcement campaigns in México and full adoption of OBD.

A very interesting discussion moderated by Ana Patricia Martinez, Director General of Air Quality Management and Emissions Monitoring at SEMARNAT, rounded off the workshop. Panel participants included John German, Eduardo Olivares representing SEMARNAT, Dr. Victor Hugo Páramo from INECC and Dr. Andrés Flores Montalvo of the CAME. The panel agreed that new vehicle standards are the low-hanging fruit and that OBD systems will significantly aid in reducing emissions from vehicle in circulation in future fleets and in streamlining effective inspection and maintenance systems. Compliance testing continues to be important, especially taking into account continued high NOx emissions from diesel vehicles. Other programs and policies are also important, such as fuel taxes, low emissions zones, and effective inspection and maintenance programs.


Kate Blumberg