With both the Delhi
and Union governments facing heat over Delhi’s smog, the Centre on Wednesday said the introduction of BS-VI grade automobile fuel
in the capital would be advanced by two years to April 2018.
BS-IV emission norms for both fuel
and automobiles were implemented across the country from April 1, 2017.
“Taking into account the serious pollution levels in Delhi
and adjoining areas, the petroleum ministry in consultation with public sector oil marketing companies has decided on introducing BS-VI grade fuel
from April 1, 2018, instead of April 1, 2020,” an official statement said.
The government had earlier decided to leapfrog to BS-VI by April 1, 2020, skipping BS-V. Oil refining companies have been asked to examine the possibility of introducing BS-VI fuel
in the National Capital Region
from April 1, 2019.
meeting Euro-IV, or Bharat Stage (BS)-IV, specifications were to be supplied throughout the country by April 2017 and BS-V, or Euro-V, fuel
by April 1, 2020.
Oil refining companies had invested over Rs 55,000 crore for production and supply of BS-III/IV fuel
and had planned to invest Rs 80,000 crore in upgrading their petrol and diesel quality to meet BS-VI specifications by 2020.
A couple of new refineries are capable of producing Euro-VI grade fuel, which contains 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur against 50 ppm in Euro-IV fuel.
will bring down the sulphur content in automobile
emission by five times from BS-IV levels, an 80 per cent reduction that makes the fuel
"This will improve emission from the existing fleet, even from older vehicles, while allowing more advanced emission control systems to be fitted in BS-VI vehicles when they begin to roll out. The full advantage of this move will be realised only when vehicle technology moves to BS-VI," said the Centre for Science and Environment.
The advancement will, however, not apply to automobiles. “Even if vehicles use BS-VI grade fuel
their emissions will not be BS-VI compliant,” an official said.
Vishnu Mathur, director-general of the Society of Indian Automobile
Manufacturers, said there would be some positive effect on emissions because the fuel
would be cleaner.
“It gives us a lot of comfort as we are now assured that BS-VI fuel
will be available pan-India in 2020, when the automobile
industry must shift to the manufacturing of BS-VI vehicles,” he added.
R C Bhargava, chairman of the country’s biggest car maker Maruti Suzuki, said, “There will not be much of an impact on emission from petrol vehicles. BS-VI diesel has low sulphur and the benefit is greater there.”
"This is the kind of drastic measure that is required, given the scale of the crisis. We cannot anymore work with small and incremental steps to bring us the kind of air quality benefits that we need,” said Sunita Narain, director-general, CSE.
Transporters have voiced concern over the price of fuel.
"The Centre should keep the price of BS-VI petrol and diesel, as also equivalent CNG, on a par with BS-IV fuel," said S P Singh, president of the Indian Foundation of Transport, Research and Training
consumed 906,000 tonnes of petrol and 1.26 million tonnes of diesel in 2016-17 and meeting the upgraded fuel
requirement from next April will not be a problem. Delhi
has 2,600-odd fuel
retail outlets selling 200,000 litres of petrol and diesel a day.
"Conversion of our 1,700 fuel
trucks will add to our expenses. The conversion will cost around Rs 15 lakh per truck," said Ajay Bansal, president of the All India Petroleum Dealers' Association.