Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
June 10 — Mexico has issued emergency emissions standards rules for cars in the greater Mexico City area in response to concerns about worsening air quality and ineffective emissions standards tests for vehicles.
The Environmental Ministry issued a temporary emergency regulation (NOM-EM-167) June 7 that requires an internationally accepted diagnostics testing of cars for emissions inspections to ensure that they are not being passed without meeting the standards.
The emergency ruling is partially as the result of unseasonably dry weather this spring that has worsened air quality and partially the effect of changes to a program intended to limit cars in Mexico City. Under that program, Hoy No Circula, or No-Drive Days, cars over eight years old could not be driven on certain days. Newer cars, depending on their age and emissions standards performance, faced either fewer or no reduction requirements. In 2015, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that this approach was discriminatory and effectively gave permission to 1.4 million car owners to take to the roads again.
“Normally, these emergency standards are for something unexpected and disastrous, like an oil spill,” said Jorge Macias, urban development director of the Mexican Cities Program of the World Resources Institute. “However, for the air quality and the emissions, you can say there is an emergency because there are 1 million more vehicles on the street. If you successfully argue that it is an emergency, then you can skip some steps in developing a new standard.”
The new regulation comes as Mexico's sprawling capital city, which swells to a population of more than 20 million during the day, tries to contain its air pollution issues, which reached its first Phase 1 emergency due to high ozone levels in mid-March. Under Mexico's air quality standard, pollution levels exceeding 100 are considered potentially dangerous to human health. Phase 1 is activated when the air quality index reaches 150. A Phase 2 alert would begin when levels reach 200.
The emergency legislation also requires the use of the European On-Board Diagnostics system and the OBD-II emissions testing program in an effort to discourage false verifications. In the U.S., this self-diagnostic emissions software has been required on all new vehicles since 1996.
Mexico's new regulation also includes stricter maximum emissions standards for gas and diesel cars and now requires private and public buses to comply with emissions standards.
It will apply to nearly 2 million vehicles in the Valle de Mexico area, which includes Mexico City, Hidalgo, the State of Mexico, Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala.
And while the regulation are in effect only for the next 12 months, environmental groups believe it will be the template for a longer lasting standard.
“In the end, it needs to be a standard for all the whole fleet,” Macias said. “The emergency regulation cannot extend forever, so we need to translate into a federal ruling that is not only applicable for Mexico City, it should be extended for the whole country.”
Several Mexican civil society groups have proposed additional steps that could be taken to improve air quality, such as updating other existing emissions standards laws.
Mexico's emissions standards for cars and trucks were first established in 1988 and implemented in 1993. The current standard for trucks allows compliance with either U.S. 2004 or Euro IV equivalent standards, but has not been enforced, largely due to an insufficient national supply of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. Mexico's fuel market will be fully open to private vendors by 2018, at which time a sufficient quantity of the needed diesel to meet the emissions standards is expected.
In addition, the Environmental Commission of the Megalopolis of Mexico City has established a temporary regional regulation limiting all cars to one no-drive per week through the end of June 2016.
To contact the reporter on this story: Emily Pickrell in Mexico City at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Greg Henderson at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)