MEXICO CITY, Sept. 30 -- Mexico's state-owned oil firm Pemex announced Monday the launch of a new unleaded gasoline that it said will reduce emissions of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide in Mexico City. Pemex said the reformulated gasoline, called Pemex Magna, would replace the unleaded gasoline called Magna Sin. The new gasoline 'will bring important benefits for the population in the valley of Mexico by reducing total hydrocarbon emissions by 12 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 4 percent,' Pemex said in a statement. National Autonomous University researcher Humberto Bravo said, however, that the new fuel was likely to increase the problem of ozone pollution in Mexico City. In an interview with Mexico City's Radio Red, Bravo said the new fuel was technically better than Magna Sin, but that 60 percent of the cars in the capital either had no catalytic converters or had obsolete converters. 'It is a mistake to put it on sale in the capital because many taxis and shuttle buses have blocked their converters by using leaded fuel and are going to be highly polluting,' he said. Emilio Aguado, assistant director for Pemex refineries, said that the new fuel could be used by all models after 1991, which were built with catalytic converters, and models between 1985 and 1991 that do not have them. He said models earlier than 1985 needed leaded gasoline to lubricate the engine valves. Luis Manuel Guerra, a researcher of the Autonomous Institute for Ecological Research, rejected Bravo's assessment of the new gasoline, saying that since the number of cars without catalytic converters would not change, the new fuel would have an advantage for containing pollution levels.
Pemex said the new gasoline, to be distributed in Mexico City beginning Tuesday, was an 87-octane fuel with an additive to improve combustion. 'The new Pemex Magna reformulated gasoline fulfills the strict norms set by the National Ecology Institute for critical zones and is superior to (the norms) determined by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency,' Pemex said. The company said the gasoline was different from the Pemex Premium brand that has been on sale in the northern city of Monterrey and other urban centers.