With the increase in oil prices, the energy crisis has led to a decrease in the import of vehicles from abroad due to the lower demand. In Macedonia, during the first 6 months of 2022, a total of 10,666 cars, trucks, and buses were imported, while 3,272 were imported as new vehicles.
The data provided by the Customs Services showcase a significant drop in the import of used and new cars from abroad. In comparison, during the year 2021, 37,832 used cars were imported into Macedonia including 6,880 new cars, buses, and trucks.
The drop in the interest in car purchases is happening in a period when the gasoline and diesel prices at gas stations have climbed above 100 MKD (1.63 EUR) per liter and these are record high prices unseen in previous years. They are a result of the drastic rise in the price of oil on world markets, primarily because of the war in Ukraine.
The government hasn’t decided to ban the import of cars with EURO 4 engines
At first, in January 2021, the Ministry of Economy promised that the import of cars older than 10 years will be banned during the current year and then it informed that this measure is postponed for 2022. Even though seven months have passed since the start of this year, the Government and the Ministry of Economy so far haven’t announced when the decision to ban the import of vehicles below the EURO 5 standard will be adopted.
When asked about this issue, the Government of North Macedonia didn’t announce a definite period when a decision might be adopted.
“If there is a debate and a decision is adopted to raise the criteria for importing used cars (from EURO 4 to Euro 5), the Ministry of Economy can make a change and amend the rule books and publish them (to enter into force) in a period of 2 to 3 months, for which the general public will be timely informed,” said the Government for Meta.mk.
They explain that the moment when the Government adopts the decision, the Ministry of Economy will have to implement it by making a change in the rule books.
“All of the rule books (sub-legal acts) that are planned (prescribed) in accordance with the Law on vehicles have been adopted, and this encompasses the rule books that are regulating the import of vehicles,” said the Ministry of Economy. Furthermore, they stated that the ministry would implement the ban on the import of vehicles below the EURO 5 standard after the decision is adopted by the government.
According to the latest data from the Customs Services, starting from 2009 until today, a total of 417,554 used cars, buses, and trucks were imported and they had been traversing the roads on a daily basis. Most of them are even older than 10 years which leads to a continuous rise in the age of the car fleet in the country, which has risen to a record of 19,4 years.
The import of an older car fleet from abroad has contributed to increased levels of air pollution in Macedonian cities which can be felt during the winter months which is combined with the non-environmental heating in the homes, the waste burning in open places, and the pollution from the industrial plants. It was proved in the official reports about climate change in the country that the greenhouse gases produced by transportation in the country are on the rise.
In its “Third two-year report on climate change,” it is stated that the Energetics transport sector has been drastically increasing its share expressed in percentages in the production of hazardous gases measured in carbon dioxide in the period from 1990 until 2016. In the period before the dissolution of Yugoslavia, transportation in 1990 had a share of 8,2% and in 2016, its shares in percentages increased to 28,1%.
At the same time, from 2016 until today, in Macedonia, an additional 200.000 used cars from abroad have been imported which will lead to a significant rise in greenhouse emissions caused by passenger transportation, where the Energetics sector is rapidly getting closer. This sector has its share of hazardous emissions caused by the power plants in the country that run on coal.
The pressure for importing used cars from abroad will increase>
If the regulations for importing used cars from abroad aren’t tightened up, the inflow of cars, buses, and trucks that emit enormous quantities of hazardous gases into the air will continue.
In the past month, Meta.mk was in Portugal which is one of the EU member countries where there is an enormous interest in purchasing electric and hybrid cars by the people. According to the polls by the European Investment Bank , up to 84% of the people that took part I the polls I Portugal that plan to purchase a vehicle have said they would choose either a hybrid or an electric car for the next purchase.
The sale of electric vehicles in Portugal has risen by 55, 3% in 2020 compared to the previous year while the total share of electric vehicles in the total sale in 2020 has reached 13,6%. The interest in electric cars has risen drastically in the past several months because of the enormous rise in the prices of oil derivatives.
The price of diesel and various types of gasoline is around 2 EUR per liter , and as a result, the majority of the people want to get rid of their old vehicles that run on oil derivatives. Conversely, electric vehicles can be charged using chargers that would cost 2 EUR and the electricity would allow them to drive 100 km.
The drivers that we spoke with in Lisbon told us that the oil derivatives have gone expensive severalfold and this has put a strain on Uber drivers, taxi drivers and other people who use diesel and gasoline vehicles for work.
Uber’s applications offer drastically different prices for a ride with a car on the streets of Lisbon depending on whether it is an electric car or not. Those driving an electric car offer cheaper rides through the city, even cheaper than public transportation. Additionally, the Portuguese state and municipality authorities are offering a wide range of measures for supporting the purchase of electric cars : subsidies in the amount of 3.000 EUR for physical persons and 2.250 EUR for companies, a tax deduction for companies, tax breaks for vehicles, free parking lots in the cities and similar measures.