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ICCT paper finds $123B benefit to Mexico from tighter heavy-duty diesel emission standards

A new working paper by the the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) concludes that tighter heavy-duty diesel vehicle emissions standards in Mexico (NOM 044 standards) would result in a net benefit to Mexico of US$123 billion (1.6 trillion Mexican pesos), taking into account the value to society of 55,000 avoided early deaths from air pollution and the reduced climate impact from lower emissions of black carbon.

This paper reports the results of a cost-benefit analysis of changes proposed for Mexico’s heavy-duty diesel vehicle emissions standard, NOM 044, through 2037. The new regulation would significantly lower limits on emissions of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from trucks and buses; require that new heavy-duty diesel vehicles sold in Mexico be equipped with advanced emissions control devices and on-board diagnostic systems; and generally bring Mexico’s regulatory framework into alignment with the international heavy-duty vehicle market as well as the most progressive standards worldwide.

NOM 044 offers manufacturers two compliance pathways, modeled on the US Environmental Protection Agency and the European Union standards. At present, the Mexican regulation is based on the outdated EPA 2004 or Euro IV standards, which differ substantially with respect to both effectiveness and compliance costs.

The new proposal would update NOM 044 to rely on EPA 2010 and Euro VI standards beginning in 2018, leapfrogging an intermediate step in the process.

Manufacturers will have no problem meeting the new standards, as they do already in other North American and world markets, the ICCT noted. Consumers and vehicle owners should benefit additionally, as engines designed to meet the more stringent PM and NOx limits are also more fuel-efficient than those that dominate the Mexican market at present.

While the emissions-control technologies required to meet the updated standards depend on ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD), there is no need for a significant lag between the date at which ULSD is widely available and promulgation of new standards, the researchers suggested.

Federal and local authorities should seek opportunities and incentives for early adoption or phase-in of new standards. More than 30% of the diesel fuel sold in Mexico already meets ultra-low sulfur limits, including fuel supplied to Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara, and the share of ULSD will continue to grow.

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