Bharat Standard IV vehicles will not be sold from April 1, 2020, the Supreme Court said today, when BS-VI grade petrol and diesel would come into force across the country. A three-judge bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said the need of the hour was to move to a cleaner fuel.
The apex court was deciding whether grace period should be given to automobile manufacturers for the sale of BS-VI non-compliant vehicles after April 1, 2020. At a previous hearing, advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the top court as an amicus curiae in the air pollution matter, had opposed the government’s move to give time till June 30, 2020, to automobile manufacturers to sell their BS-VI non-compliant four-wheelers manufactured till March 31, 2020, reported PTI.
What are Bharat Stage emissions standards
The Bharat Stage emission standards are standards instituted by the government to regulate the output of air pollutants from motor vehicles from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles. India has been following European (Euro) emission norms, although with a time lag of five years. The BS IV norms had been enforced across the country since April 2017. In 2016, the Centre had announced that the country would skip the BS-V norms altogether and adopt BS-VI norms by 2020. Implementation of the intermediate BS-V standard was originally scheduled for 2019.
What is the difference between BS-IV and BS-VI
The main difference in standards between the existing BS-IV and the new BS-VI auto fuel norms is the presence of sulphur. The BS-VI fuel is estimated to bring around an 80 per cent reduction of sulphur, from 50 parts per million to 10 ppm. According to analysts, the emission of NOx (nitrogen oxides) from diesel cars is also expected to come down by nearly 70 per cent and 25 per cent from cars with petrol engines.
What it means for vehicles
The Supreme Court verdict may hit the automobile industry. The manufacturers had argued that they still have unsold stock of BS-IV vehicles and requested time till March 31, 2020, so that they be granted reasonable time to sell their stock. Using the introduction of higher grade fuel will be beneficial only if it is done in tandem with the rollout of BS-IV 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.