Manu P. Toms
Mumbai, Nov. 29 Automobiles in India would be graded by their fuel efficiency once the Government agency completes its work on the subject. The Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA), the energy auditing agency under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, is formulating fuel efficiency standards for the automobile sector.
This is being carried out in collaboration with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) under the Ministry of Power.
The mileage standards for the cars will be set on the basis of the engine capacity and the vehicle brands will be graded according to their conformity to the set standards, sources in the PCRA said. However, the agency may not be able to stop the market entry of the vehicles which are non-compliant to the mileage standards. But the acceptance of lower-graded vehicles, in terms of mileage standards, will be left to the market’s judgement. “Setting standards for car manufacturers won’t be easy.
“This will be done in consultation with the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, Automotive Research Association of India and others,” an official in the PCRA said.
The emission norms also will be tightened in parallel to the initiatives on fuel efficiency front. By 2010, Bharat Stage IV for will be introduced in the cities where Bharat Stage III for emission norms is now in place.
Similarly, emission standards will be upgraded to Bharat III in places where it is currently Bharat II.
“We will blend the emission standards and fuel efficiency standards. The formulation of the broad set of standards will be done in consultation with various agencies like auto manufacturers and oil companies,” said Mr Ravi Capoor, Joint Secretary and Executive Director of PCRA.
“About 50 per cent of the total oil and gas consumption goes into transport sector. Certain energy efficiency initiatives are imperative in the context of rising fuel prices and carbon emission. India spent about Rs 2 lakh crore for crude oil import in last fiscal. We target to reduce energy spending by at least two per cent,” Mr Capoor said.
“When a litre of petrol is burnt, it will emit carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent to 2.5 litres, a major cause of global warming. According to the IPCC report, eight years is the window the world has been given to make behavioural changes,” he said.
“In Delhi, the car users spend Rs 994 crore annually on oil by just waiting to go from red signal to green signal. There must be an awareness campaign to press people to switch off engines when they are in traffic islands,” Mr. Capoor said.
“The Government has spent Rs 53,000 crore on subsidies to oil companies in the last fiscal. The amount will be around Rs 75,000 crore in the current fiscal,” he said.
(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 30, 2007)