With an aim to combat the rising levels of air pollution in Delhi-NCR region, petrol pumps in the capital from Sunday started supplying ultra-clean Bharat Stage VI grade fuel (both petrol and diesel). This move makes New Delhi the first city in the country to switch from BS-IV grade fuels to BS-VI (equivalent to fuel meeting Euro-VI emission norms). Other cities like Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram and Faridabad along with 13 major cities, including Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune, will also switch over to cleaner BS-VI grade fuel from January 1 next year. However, BS- VI fuel will be rolled out in rest of the country by April 2020.
Difference between BS-IV and the new BS-VI
The major difference in standards between the existing BS-IV and the new BS-VI auto fuel norms is the presence of sulphur. The newly introduced fuel is estimated to reduce the amount of sulphur released by 80 per cent, from 50 parts per million to 10 ppm. As per the analysts, the emission of NOx (nitrogen oxides) from diesel cars is also expected to reduce by nearly 70 per cent and 25 per cent from cars with petrol engines.
However, the introduction of higher grade fuel will be beneficial only if it is done in tandem with the roll-out of BS-VI compliant vehicles. Using BS-VI fuel in the current BS-IV engines or, conversely, running BS-VI engines on the current-grade fuel, may be ineffective in curbing vehicular pollution, and may damage the engine in the long run.
Price of the new fuel will be 50 paisa/litre more than present rate
The director of Indian Oil Corp (IOC), B V Rama Gopal while speaking to media in New Delhi on Saturday confirmed that state-owned oil firms will start supplying the BS-VI grade fuels (equivalent to fuel meeting Euro-VI emission norm) at all the 391 petrol pumps running in the national capital territory (NCT). He added, the price of the newly introduced fuel would cost around 50 paisa a litre more.
Pointing out the investment and work being done to meet Delhi’s annual fuel consumption, which is 9.6 lakh tonnes of petrol and 12.65 lakh tonnes of diesel, the official said, Mathura refinery in Uttar Pradesh, Panipat refinery in Haryana, Bina in Madhya Pradesh and Bhatinda in Punjab have started producing Euro-VI grade fuel. The official also mentioned that around Rs 183 crore has already been spent on Panipat refinery alone for producing cleaner fuel.
Deadline for rest of the country
It was decided in 2015 that the country will switch from BS-IV grade fuel to BS-VI grade fuel by April 2020. While the deadline stands for the rest of the country, in Delhi the authorities were compelled to advance the introduction of a cleaner fuel looking at the deteriorating conditions of the air quality. The decision was taken by the Petroleum Ministry on November last year, where it stated that BS-VI grade auto fuels would be dispensed with effect from April 1, 2018 instead of the scheduled April 1, 2020. The ministry had then said the advancement was part of the government’s “concerted efforts to reduce vehicular emissions and improve fuel efficiency with an aim to reduce the carbon footprints and keep a healthy environment.”
Where will the supply come from?
A report in PTI states that IOC, the nation’s biggest oil firm controlling roughly half of retail fuel market, will source the BS-VI fuel to meet Delhi’s requirement from its Mathura and Panipat refineries, while Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) will do so from its joint venture refinery at Bhatinda. Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) will supply the fuel from its Bina refinery.
It must be noted that BS-IV grade fuel was first introduced in the country in April last year, but India subsequently decided to jump to BS-VI grade by April 2020 to meet international best practices. The petroleum ministry, justifying the move, had said, “This measure is expected to help mitigate the problem of air pollution in National Capital Territory of Delhi and surrounding areas.”