Controlling the level and type of vehicle technology entering a country by using import restrictions can provide an effective way to force fuel economy on new and second-hand cars. In fact, most countries have put in place certain restrictions on new and used vehicles brought into a country based on age, technology (e.g. diesel vehicles), and emissions. These often go hand-in-hand with registration fees and taxation instruments.
However, restrictions on used vehicles for environmental concerns must be balanced with economic and social considerations – where affordable personal mobility is impeded by restricted import policies, public transit alternatives must be planned and made available.
Below are some examples of import restrictions connected to auto fuel efficiency:
- Algeria - imported secondhand vehicles must be less than 3 years old.
- Imports of used automobiles into Brazil are not allowed under any circumstances, with special authorization required for the import of used parts. Brazil also has a ban on diesel passenger car imports, but still exports diesel cars to Argentina.
- Argentina is also currently considering a similar ban on imports and production of diesel passenger cars. There is a possibility this ban will be extended to the entire MERCOSUR region; however, this has yet to be determined under the CAP negotiations.
- South Africa does not allow the import of used vehicles.
- Mexico allows importation of used cars that are 10 years old – nothing newer, nothing older.
- In Jordan, imported secondhand vehicles must be less than 5 years old.
- In Peru, where the government has authorized importing used cars until 2010 for socio-economic reasons, with a planned phase-out of used technology afterwards.