(Adds quote, background on Mexican auto sector, byline)
By Robert Campbell
MEXICO CITY Aug 3 Mexico will introduce fuel
efficiency standards for all new cars as part of its effort to
help curb the emission of greenhouse gases, the head of the
National Ecology Institute said on Monday.
The government is currently studying which type of
standards to impose but it is leaning towards a plan that would
be similar to proposed fuel efficiency rules in California or
other parts of the United States, Adrian Fernandez said in an
"The standard will cut gasoline imports by as much as a new
refinery," Fernandez said. The ecology institute Fernandez
heads is one of the principal environmental policymaking bodies
in the Mexican government.
Mexico is one of the world's largest car builders and most
global auto companies have at least one factory in the country.
The auto industry is a critical part of Mexico's manufacturing
sector, which has been hard hit by the recession in the United
Car production over the first half of the year fell 42.9
percent as both export and domestic sales plunged.
Mexico relies on imports to cover more than 40 percent of
gasoline demand due to a lack of domestic refining capacity and
experts have warned the country's dependence on imports could
surge unless new plants are built.
Officials have spoken of the need to keep building new
refineries as the number of vehicles on Mexican roads is
expected to rise to by more than 14 million by 2017.
State oil monopoly Pemex plans to spend nearly $10 billion
on a new refinery near Mexico City to help reduce dependence on
(Reporting by Robert Campbell; Editing by Marguerita Choy)