Government, car dealers agree to stop importing used cars over 14 years old

October 23, 2015

Officials from various ministries and representatives of both new and used car dealerships agreed this week to stop importing vehicles older than 14 years as a measure to reduce air pollution.

The deal is part of the country’s efforts to meet its goal of becoming carbon neutral, the Environment Ministry stated.

The agreement followed a two-day meeting earlier this month in which officials from the Finance Ministry, Environment Ministry, and Public Works and Transport Ministry met with leaders of the Costa Rican Automotive Chamber, the Car Importers Association and officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Environment Vice Minister Irene Cañas Díaz said ministry officials are currently drafting legislation to enforce the results of the agreement and that a final document will be ready for signing in a few weeks.

According to ministry data, vehicles are responsible for 82 percent of carbon emissions in Costa Rica, followed by industrial emissions at 11 percent.

Costa Rican Automotive Chamber President José Carballo said the government’s initial proposal was to ban the import of used vehicles older than six years.

“At the meeting, however, we were able to demonstrate that vehicles up to 14 years old from the U.S. meet environmental standards thanks to strict requirements set by the EPA,” Carballo said.

Chamber associates are satisfied with the agreement, Carballo said, adding that the used car business generates jobs for many Ticos.

Carballo said an average of 52,000 vehicles per year entered Costa Rica in the past three years and that 65 percent of them were new cars.

Previously the majority of cars entering the country were used cars, but stability in the dollar-colón exchange rate, as well as changes in interest rates in recent years reversed the figures, he said.

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