Running a BS-IV vehicle on BS-VI fuel is possible which could lead to lower levels of pollution.
Oil marketing companies in consultation with the Petroleum Ministry have decided to advance the roll-out of Bharat Stage (BS-VI) auto grade fuels in Delhi by two years to April 1, 2018. This is done with a view to mitigating the problem of air pollution in Delhi and surrounding areas.
“Taking into account the serious pollution levels in Delhi and adjoining areas, the Petroleum Ministry in consultation with public oil marketing companies has decided for preponement of BS-VI grade auto fuels in NCT of Delhi w.e.f 01.04.2018 instead of 01.04.2020”, said a statement from the Petroleum Ministry.
However, the BS-VI fuels could not be put to significant use as vehicle manufacturers who are already running against time to meet the April 1, 2020 deadline for BS-VI said it would be impossible to roll out vehicles that run on these updated engines by April 1, 2018.
But running a BS-IV vehicle on BS-VI fuel is possible which could lead to lower levels of pollution.
“No manufacturer has BS-VI-ready vehicles for launch in India across any segments. There is no way any manufacturer will be able to sell BS-VI vehicles next year. Every manufacturer is bending its back to meet the (April 1) 2020 deadline,” said an official from a Delhi-based manufacturer.
To be sure the government has not asked the automotive industry or its apex lobby body the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) to advance the roll-out BS-VI compliant vehicles to April 1, 2018.
However, manufacturers fear that the automotive industry could be later forced by a quasi-judicial body like National Green Tribunal (NGT) to either launch BS-VI vehicles or halt sales in Delhi altogether. In December 2015 the NGT had issued a ban on sale of diesel vehicles having engines bigger than 2000cc in the national capital.
Delhi is one of the single largest car and two-wheeler markets in India accounting for 7 percent of India’s total car volumes and 25 percent of total sales in north India. Delhi also accounts for 3 percent of India’s two-wheeler sales and 11 percent of north India’s two-wheeler sales.
Experts say that even if auto manufacturers were to launch BS-VI vehicles next year running them on BS-IV would not be desirable.
“BS-VI will be the biggest advancement in engine and emission technology ever introduced in India. These vehicles will be much cleaner than today’s generation engines. These will not be able to run on BS-IV fuel without causing any harm to the engine and exhaust system,” said another official from a vehicle making company.
Only foreign manufacturers such as Renault, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Volvo, MAN, Scania, Daimler Trucks to name a few sell BS-VI-ready vehicles in the western markets would be able to launch them in India because of ready availability of technology.Indian manufacturers such as Tata Motors, Mahindra, TVS, Bajaj, Hero and Ashok Leyland will take time to upgrade to BS-VI. There will also be a significant mark-up in prices of BS-VI vehicles.