India to increase ethanol production as people facing problems due to rising fuel prices: Gadkari

Petrol prices in some parts of the country, including metro cities Mumbai and Hyderabad, have crossed Rs 100 per litre mark due to multiple fuel price hikes in past six weeks.

By:Updated: Jun 17, 2021 1:33 PM
fuel Price increase today on 16th june check petrol diesel price today in your cityFile photo: Reuters

Addressing a conference organised by BRICS Network University virtually, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that India will increase production of alternate fuel ethanol as people are facing a lot of problems due to rising prices of petrol and diesel. Citing examples of Brazil, Canada and the US where automobile makers are producing flex-fuel engines, Gadkari mentioned that this provides an alternative to customers to use 100 percent petrol or 100 percent bio-ethanol.

“Now Indian production (of ethanol) we are going to increase because of the rise in petrol price, people are facing a lot of problems,” Gadkari said while explaining that the use of ethanol is cost-effective.

Petrol prices in some parts of the country, including metro cities Mumbai and Hyderabad, have crossed Rs 100 per litre mark due to multiple fuel price hikes in past six weeks.

Petrol retails at over Rs 100 per litre mark in seven states and union territories – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Ladakh. Gadkari pointed out that the ethanol price will be Rs 60-62 per litre and the petrol price is more than Rs 100 per litre.

“As far as the caloric value of ethanol is concerned, the 750 ml of petrol or 800 ml is equal to 1 litre of ethanol, still there is Rs 20 saving per litre,” the road transport and highways minister said. “And it is an import substitute and cost-effective, pollution-free and indigenous,” he added. The minister pointed out that for all the racing cars, all over the world ethanol is used as fuel.

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Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the target date for achieving 20 percent ethanol-blending with petrol has been advanced by five years to 2025 to cut pollution and reduce import dependence.

The government last year had set a target of reaching 10 percent ethanol blending in petrol by 2022 and 20 per cent doping by 2030. Currently, about 8.5 percent ethanol is mixed with petrol as against 1-1.5 per cent in 2014, Gadkari said adding ethanol procurement has risen from 38 crore litres to 320 crore litres.

Highlighting the need for a policy for import substitution, the minister said India imports Rs 8 lakh crores of crude oil, and this will rise two-folds in the next 4-5 years which would have a huge impact on the economy.

Gadkari said India’s minimum support price (MSP) for some crops are higher than international prices that is why the government allowing ethanol production from sugarcane, foodgrains and corn. “We will make ethanol economy of Rs 2 lakh crore in the next five years,” he said.

Ethanol extracted from sugarcane as well as damaged food grains such as wheat and broken rice and agriculture waste is less polluting and its use also provides farmers with an alternate source of income.

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