Log in | Subscribe | RSS feed

What’s New

Colombia to adopt Euro VI emission standards

23 August 2019

The Colombian Congress passed a new Law No. 1972 (18 Jul 2019) [4437], which requires all diesel vehicles imported to or manufactured in the country to meet Euro VI emission standards from January 1, 2023. The law also imposes an unusual requirement that all diesel vehicles in operation in Colombia be Euro VI by 2035. However, a number of detailed provisions in the published text appear ambiguous and confusing, and will likely require a clarification by future regulatory acts.

The key points of the regulation, translated from the Spanish original, are:

  1. New land-based mobile sources with a diesel engine are required to meet Euro VI, their equivalent or superior emission limits starting 1.1.2023.
  2. All diesel powered vehicles in circulation nationally are required to meet Euro VI, their equivalent or superior emission limits starting 1.1.2035.
  3. All new motorcycles must be Euro 3 (or its equivalent or superior) starting 1.1.2021. A plan and schedule is to be established to have only Euro 3 (or its equivalent or superior) motorcycles in circulation by 2030.
  4. Within 2 years, regulations that require diesel vehicles to have OBD are to be finalized.
  5. By 1.1.2030, a minimum of 20% of the fleet of all Integrated Mass Transportation Systems (SITM), Public Transport Strategic Systems (SETP), Integrated Public Transportation Systems (SITP) and Regional Integrated Transportation Systems (SITR) shall be zero emission vehicles.
  6. Diesel fuel sulfur is to be 10-15 ppm by 1.1.2023 and < 10 ppm by 1.1.2025.

Interestingly, the law appears to be the world’s first national-level emission regulation that attempts to retroactively delegalize vehicles of previous emission stages. As written, the law implies that the operation of pre-Euro VI vehicles would be disallowed in Colombia effective 2035, and a similar measure is to be developed for older motorcycles. This approach represents a troubling and socially disruptive trend where a disproportionate burden of compliance with environmental regulations is put on the shoulders of the poor who cannot afford to buy new vehicles. It can be anticipated that the Colombian government will see significant opposition if the requirement remains in effect 15+ years down the road. A reference can be made to the French gilets jaunes (yellow vest) grassroots movement for economic justice that was triggered by an attempt to increase fuel taxes.

On closer scrutiny, the wording of the regulation also includes a number of oversights and possible errors. Some of the issues and uncertainities are:

In a press release about the regulation, VERT Association said Colombia is planning to implement a periodic technical inspection (NPTI) program using particle counting instruments to detect excessive particulate emissions from in-use vehicles. However, there does not seem to be any mention of NPTI in the law. It is possible that NPTI will be covered by another regulation.

It would appear that the Law No. 1972 is meant to provide some legislative direction. It is possible that the existing Resolution (910 of 2008, as amended by 1111 of 2013) that covers emissions from mobile sources will be modified to reflect the Euro VI requirements. Hopefully the Colombian lawmakers will take the time to ensure it is better written.

Source: VERT | Library of Congress