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E4 Country Profile: Energy Efficiency in Mexico

Energy Efficiency in Emerging Economies (E4) programme findings and work

Mexico joined the IEA in 2018 as the first member from Latin America. Mexico is strongly committed to energy efficiency as part of its wider energy reforms. Its policy coverage in multiple energy end-use sectors has increased substantially since 2010 and in 2013, Mexico became the first country in Latin America to introduce a fuel economy standard.

Mexico still has several challenges in meeting its climate objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals such as ensuring access to clean cooking and, in remote areas, universal access to energy. Energy efficiency, through its multiple benefits, remains an important enabler of these objectives.

Energy efficiency improvements in Mexico since 2010 prevented 5% of additional energy use in 2018. Structural factors such as movement of economic activity from energy-intensive industry sectors to less-intensive manufacturing and service sectors was almost entirely offset by changes in transport modes and occupancy levels as well as increased appliance ownership rates and expanding building floor area, especially for the 2014 to 2018 period, where it led to an increase in energy use.

Decomposition of energy use in Mexico between 2010-2014 and 2014-2018


Savings from energy efficiency in Mexico, 2014–2018


These savings are driven by the energy efficiency policies. In 2018, mandatory energy efficiency policies covered 23% of Mexico’s total energy use, with the biggest coverage in the buildings sector at 44%, where building codes are in place for both commercial and residential buildings.

Percentage of energy use covered by mandatory energy efficiency policies in Mexico, 2010-2018


In the transport sector, Mexico has benefited from the introduction of fuel efficiency standards for passenger cars, with the fuel efficiency of the country’s passenger car fleet on a par with the global average.

In the industry sector, Mexico adopted motor efficiency Minimum Energy Performance Standards at the IE3 level, matching those across North America. Moreover, while Mexico does not mandate industrial energy efficiency improvements, it has created a framework for voluntary agreements with industry for agreed improvements in energy efficiency.

Under the Efficient World Scenario, the increase in energy consumption could be limited to just 10% between now and 2040. This would save 1 EJ of additional energy use compared to expected trends. Savings would mainly come from transport (45%) and industry (30%), followed by the buildings sector.

Energy savings in Mexico in the Efficient World Scenario vs the New Policies Scenario by sector, 2012-2040


The cost effective measures incorporated in the EWS could also reduce CO2 emissions to 8% under current levels by 2040.

Avoided CO2 emissions in Mexico in the Efficient World Scenario vs the New Policies Scenario, 2012-2040


The opportunities to increase energy efficiency based on the Efficient World Scenario are:

  • In transport, Mexico’s average fuel efficiency of trucks is around 30% less than in China and 20% less than the United States, both of which have introduced standards. This indicates that the introduction of fuel efficiency standards for trucks could unlock efficiency gains.
  • In industry, adopting energy management systems across motor-driven systems would also boost efficiency as well as Mexico’s promotion of energy efficiency learning networks. 
  • In buildings, energy savings could be achieved through the continued strengthening and implementation of Mexico’s Roadmap for Building Energy Codes and Standards, which sets targets in three-year increments to 2050.

The E4 Programme has worked with Mexico to progress with firm foundations for energy efficiency in terms of legislation, strategy, and capacity. These include: a long-term energy efficiency strategy, energy efficiency targets set under the Energy Transition Law, and a roadmap for building energy codes and standards.

The E4 programme continues to advance energy efficiency in buildings in Mexico, including contributing to the Roadmap for Building Energy Codes and Standards for Mexico through analytical support and stakeholder engagement. Together with CAF, the IEA has also developed an online training course for buildings efficiency to help increase the capacity of stakeholders in the implementation of building codes. Ongoing engagement on buildings is further seen in the strong engagement of Mexican stakeholders in the development of the Regional Roadmap for Buildings and Construction, developed with the IEA with the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction.