The price of Costa Rica’s mandatory, yearly technical vehicle inspection will increase next month after 11 years without change.
The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) agreed with Riteve SyC, the Spanish-owned company responsible for carrying out the mandatory inspections, that new rates will take effect starting July 1 and increase incrementally over the next two years.
Transport Vice Minister Sebastián Urbina said the new hikes will be based on the country’s inflation rates, but the government and Riteve also agreed on three fixed hikes for all types of vehicles.
Urbina cited a ₡993 ($1.80) increase for automobiles in July and two hikes of ₡1,250 (₡2.28) that will apply in January of 2017 and 2018. He said the full list of new tariffs for all other types of vehicles will be made public in the coming days. (See the current rate list by vehicle type here.)
The vice minister said MOPT set the new rates based on a model created in order to comply with an agreement with Riteve SyC. As part of the agreement, Riteve pledged to do more stringent evaluations of vehicle emissions, one of the most common faults found during inspections. Riteve also will buy cars and hire more staff to assist Traffic Police in monitoring vehicle emissions on roads.
“This rate model is a commitment from this administration and an opportunity to improve air quality in our country, something we greatly need,” Urbina said.
According to MOPT, there are just over 1.3 million vehicles in Costa Rica. The average age of vehicles is 16 years.
Urbina said the government also has plans to tighten regulations for importing vehicles, including a proposal to charge higher import taxes for higher polluting cars and implement stricter rules for cargo trucks entering the country.
Rate model was a pending debt
Since 2005, the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) had rejected all of Riteve’s requests to increase tariffs on vehicle inspections, arguing that there was no model for calculating new tariffs. ARESEP officials argued that they’re only required to set tariffs when there are various companies providing the same public service, but Riteve SyC has a monopoly on vehicle inspections.
MOPT was in charge of setting a rate model, per the government’s contract with Riteve, but the company accused the ministry of dragging its feet. Riteve’s parent company filed a complaint against Costa Rica before the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in 2012 over the tariff issue. The case is still pending.
The regulatory agency rejected the last of Riteve’s requests in November. At the time, the company requested a 205 percent hike, which would have increased the price of inspections for a sedan-type car from ₡9,930 ($18.14) to ₡30,320 ($55.39).