February 21, 2020 / 2:43 AM / in 3 months

Mexico ratifies rule requiring trucks, buses to run on cleaner diesel

MEXICO CITY, Feb 20 (Reuters) - The Mexican government on Thursday ratified an environmental rule that requires truck and bus makers to manufacture and sell only vehicles running on clean diesel starting in January 2021, despite criticism from the industry.

The Environment Ministry said in a statement that the rule, which mandates ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD), was necessary to ensure a healthy environment and “to be consistent with commercial partners in North America and the European Union.”

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration is under pressure to fulfill environmental commitments at a time when several cities in the country show high levels of pollution.

Mexico, Canada and the United States are close to ratifying a new trade deal, which was modified at the last minute to add labor and environmental provisions demanded by Democrats in the United States.

The Mexican government said that the domestic availability of USLD was at around 86%, considering production from state oil company Pemex and imports. But trade association Anpact estimated that as of mid-2019, ULSD was available in only 75% of the country’s gasoline stations, citing a survey of 345 outlets.

“Not having ULSD in 100% of the country represents an obstacle for carriers as they decide whether to renew their fleet,” said Miguel Elizalde, president of Anpact, which represents companies such as Navistar International Corp and Volkswagen

The Ministry of Environment said in the statement that it recognized the need to develop a plan to distribute ULSD more strategically and was participating in a working group with Pemex to modify another standard issued by energy regulator CRE, which also calls for clean diesel.

In December, CRE postponed the deadline, however, for Pemex to comply with the rule until 2025.

Anpact warned in August that manufacturers were running out of time to comply with the environmental provision.

“What we ask is that both technologies co-exist,” Elizalde said.

Reporting by Sharay Angulo; Writing by Julia Love; Editing by Peter Cooney

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