Buenos Aires — Argentina's government authorized Wednesday a 0% import duty on electric buses, the latest move to build an electric vehicle market to reduce fossil fuel consumption after years of tight supplies.
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Bus importers and manufacturers can bring in a total of 350 electric buses duty-free over the next three years, according to a presidential decree published in the Official Bulletin.
To access the tax break, importers must vow to start producing electric buses locally "in no less than two years" at the equivalent amount of their imports.
So if an importer brings in the maximum of 60 units per company, it must produce that same amount on an annual basis within two years, according to the decree.
This will "spur local production," it said.
The government also cut the import tax to 2% on a total of 2,500 electric chargers for buses and cars, according to the decree.
The decree did not say what the previous tax rates were.
This is the government's latest move to build an EV market. Last year, it slashed import duties to between 0% an 5% on electric, hybrid and hydrogen vehicles, down from 35% previously, with the aim of importing 6,000 EVs over three years.
Argentinian President Mauricio Macri has said he wants to promote alternative fuels and renewable energies to protect the environment and diversify energy supplies.
With more electric buses, the country can reduce diesel consumption and narrow a 25% deficit met by costlier imports.
Buses are the most widely used form of public transport in Argentina, accounting for 58% of trips in Buenos Aires, for example, according to data of the city's Ministry of Transport.
The rise in diesel imports comes in part because the country's oil production has dropped 44% to 478,000 b/d from a peak of 847,000 b/d in 1998.