Mexico clashes with auto industry over fuel efficiency

Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:14pm EDT
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By Marcelo Teixeira

SAO PAULO Oct 26 (Reuters Point Carbon) - Carmaker Toyota and Mexico's auto industry have sued the Mexican government to try to block proposed regulations to align the fuel efficiency standard of cars and light trucks with that of the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Toyota last month obtained a federal court injunction to stop the government's work on Nom-163, a rule that would require the fleet of new cars and light trucks to achieve a fuel economy rate of 14.9 kilometers per liter, or 35 miles per gallon, by 2016.

Mexico appealed but the local carmakers association, Amia, joined Toyota in its legal action to block the rule, which would also align the fuel economy standard of Mexico's new cars with that of Canada.

The controversy highlights the resistance by Mexico's manufacturing sector to the low-carbon regulations introduced in the last few years by the government as the global economy drags and competition increases.

The companies allege the proposed standard is too strict and would increase vehicle prices, therefore reducing sales.

The government thinks the auto industry is challenging the regulation in order to be able to sell cars in Mexico that it can no longer sell abroad to markets with tougher regulations.

Mexico has led a high profile effort to decarbonize its economy, and drew international attention by being one of the few countries to enact comprehensive climate legislation.

Although it is a developing country, Mexico has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent from business-as-usual levels by 2020.   Continued...