In a major — and perhaps the boldest so far — step to curb vehicular pollution, India is moving directly from Euro IV emission norms for petrol and diesel to Euro VI standards and the oil PSUs plans to invest Rs 28,750 crore for the transition.
The decision was taken at an inter-ministerial meeting on 6 January to advance the date by four years to 1 April, 2020 for the implementation of Bharat Stage VI (equivalent to Euro VI norms followed globally) for supply of cleaner auto fuel, by altogether skipping the Euro V grade norms.
The auto emission norms are emission standards which are adopted by the government of a nation to check the air pollutants released from any internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles.
According to the Centre for Science and Environment, the move to Bharat Stage-VI will bring down Nitrogen Oxide emissions from diesel cars by 68 per cent and 25 per cent from petrol engined cars. Cancer causing particulate matter emissions from diesel engined cars will also come down by a phenomenal 80 per cent, reports NDTV.
The decision has been taken at a time when an intense debate is going on rising level of pollution, while an innovative odd-even formula is being tried in the National Capital to check vehicular pollution.
Bharat Stage emission standards, introduced by the Union government in 2000 are used to regulate output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine.
These norms were introduced in India in 2000, when the Bharat Stage norms were adopted by the then government, based on the European emission norms. Each stage specifies a certain limit on the pollutants released, which is controlled by the type of fuel made by the oil companies and the upgradations and modifications made by the auto firms to their vehicles to control the pollutants released from the vehicle.
India currently has Bharat Stage-III (equivalent of Euro-III specifications) across the country and BS-IV in major cities. BS-IV will be supplied in most big cities by April 2016 and all over the country from April 2017.
While Auto Fuel Policy had recommended implementation of BS-VI norms by 2024, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in October 2015 stated that his ministry will go straight from BS-IV to BS-VI by 2020 as there was not much difference in specifications of Euro-V and Euro-VI fuel.
Refineries will be able to supply BS IV to the entire country only next year and then upgrade directly to BS VI, leapfrogging the intermediate stage of emission norms.
The refinery upgrade, which reduces sulphur content by one-sixth, will mean big business opportunities for firms such as Larsen & Toubro and Engineers India, along with foreign technology suppliers, reports The Economic Times.
State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) will also invest Rs 21,000 crore in upgrading six refineries to produce Euro-VI grade petrol and diesel by April 2020, its director (Refineries) Sanjiv Singh said on Thursday.
The investment on upgradation will raise the production cost of petrol by Rs 1.40 per litre and diesel by Rs 0.63.
IOC, the nation's largest oil firm, is investing Rs 7,000 crore in upgrading fuel quality from Bharat Stage-III, equivalent to Euro-III emission norm, to BS-IV by next year, he said.
Another, Rs 13,000-14,000 crore will be invested in six units to upgrade fuel quality straight to BS-VI or Euro-VI, he added.
However, the Transport Ministry in a draft notification in November put the date for supply of BS-VI fuel at 1 April, 2021.
BS-IV fuels contain 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur, while BS-V and BS-VI grade fuel will have 10 ppm sulphur.
Automobile industry body SIAM, which has been opposing the skipping of BS V to jump to BS VI, said it would comment only after seeing the notification.
With inputs from agencies