DUBAI // Gas-guzzling vehicles that do not meet a planned five-star rating system for emissions will be blocked from import into the UAE, according to government and environment officials.
The new rules, which are currently being finalised, should be in place within two years by which time all new cars must carry labels with detailed information about fuel efficiency and emission levels.
The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology is working with manufacturers to ensure the timeline is met as part of government efforts to reduce the toll on the environment.
“We will have a baseline and will not allow certain cars to enter the country if they do not meet the minimum standards of one-star and that means they are not complying with our labelling and rating,” said Abdulla Al Maeeni, Esma’s director general, at the Future Mobility conference in Dubai focused on encouraging environmentally-friendly vehicles in the Arabian Gulf region.
The one to five-star rating, with one being the lowest and five the best, for private cars is similar to Esma’s grading of the energy efficiency of refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners.
“We have a target to reduce the UAE’s carbon footprint, we want to reduce consumption of oil and fuel in the country,” he said.
This is part of a nationwide green strategy with authorities working to cut pollution levels.
The UAE has the third-largest environmental footprint in the region – after Kuwait and Qatar – according to the Living Planet Report released last year.
The UAE’s footprint of 7.75 global hectares per person is mostly the result of carbon emissions.
Cars will be classified into two types of light and heavy vehicles. Esma has met with manufacturers who are part of a core committee that also provide feedback on the process.
Identifying environmentally friendly cars is vital to consumer awareness, said Fahad Hareb, director of air quality with the Ministry of Environment and Water.
“This will educate people into understanding operational costs once they purchase these vehicles,” he said.
The ministry is working with Ajman and Sharjah municipalities, transport authorities, the federal customs and Ministry of Interior to draw up incentive schemes for motorists who drive green cars.
Plans for free parking in government public areas, an import tax exemption on environmentally friendly vehicles, road tolls dependent on ratings, higher purchase costs and registration charges for cars with high emission levels are being discussed under a “polluter pays” policy.