Transforming Myanmar’s vehicle fuel economy landscape

IEA projections show that the increase in vehicles in non-OECD countries will be the highest. This is important for Myanmar

The rapid increase in secondhand car imports into Myanmar is prompting a transformational shift in the government’s fuel economy planning and policymaking.

At the “National Workshop on Developing Fuel Economy Baseline and Policies” in Nay Pyi Taw on September 19 organized by Myanmar’s Ministry of Industry, Clean Air Asia and UN Environment, 23 representatives from government agencies and the private sector discussed the current institutional structure, legislation and policies, and barriers to the development of an effective national fuel economy baseline and associated policies.

At present, about 90 percent of all vehicles in Myanmar are secondhand imports from Japan. UN Environment Programme Officer Bert Fabian said if those vehicles complied with a particular Euro fuel standard, such as Euro 4, then fuel should also be compliant at 50 ppm of sulfur.

“Knowing what types of vehicles are entering Myanmar would be one of the outcomes of fuel economy baseline development,” Mr Fabian said. “We need to do this quickly; we need to map out how to implement these policies in Myanmar.”

He said that using the motorization rate – the number of passenger cars per 1000 people – Myanmar, with a population of more than 53 million, would have a rating of 50 cars/1000.

“According to the International Energy Agency, vehicle numbers in developed countries are now stable or tapering; however, their projections show that the increase in vehicles in non-OECD countries will be the highest. This is important for Myanmar.

“There will be more cars. Fossil fuel expenditures will increase. In the energy sector, 12 percent is accounted to transport in Myanmar.”

“The types of technologies and the types of cars are already available out there; it’s up to the government to put up policies to influence the type of cars that are coming in. However, those policies won’t work unless there is close involvement with other sectors.”

Mr Fabian said additional concerns included fuel quality and the lack of fuel subsidies in Myanmar.

The workshop also examined the roles and mandates of government agencies in implementing fuel economy policies and instruments, including taxation, trade and importation, licensing and registration, and the challenges inherent in Myanmar’s transport sector.

The Ministry of Industry will continue working with Clean Air Asia and UN Environment to develop their fuel economy baseline and, later on, to develop specific fuel economy policies for Myanmar.

The “National Workshop on Developing Fuel Economy Baseline and Policies” was organized with support from Global Fuel Economy Initiative, with funding from the FIA Foundation.

The full workshop summary can be downloaded at http://cleanairasia.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Workshop-summary.pdf