The Supreme Court has ordered a ban on sales of vehicles compliant with BS-IV emission norms in India starting 1st April 2020. Bharat Stage-IV emission norms came in to force in India on 1st April 2017, which was also the apex court's deadline for a ban on BS-III compliant vehicles. Bharat stage emission standards are standards instituted by the government to regulate the output of air pollutants from motor vehicles. The decision, taken by a three-judge bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur, implies that only BS-VI compliant vehicles will be sold in the country starting 1st April 2020.
The Supreme Court bench concluded that the need of the hour was to move to a cleaner fuel. India will be moving directly on from BS-IV emission norms to BS-VI in 2020, skipping BS-V norms. In 2016, the Centre had announced that the country would skip BS-V norms altogether and adopt BS-VI norms by 2020.
With the rollout of BS-VI compliant cars, the government will also have to make BS-VI grade fuel available in the country. In April this year, Delhi became the first city in India to make BS-VI fuel available at its filling stations.
Vehicle owners should know that running your BS-III or BS-IV complaint vehicle on BS-VI fuel will not cause any problems. However, running a BS-VI compliant vehicle on inferior fuel can cause problems and hence only BS-VI grade fuel needs to be made available across the country.
In January this year, Mercedes-Benz India became the very first car manufacturer to launch a BS-VI compliant vehicle in the country in the form of the Made-in-India Mercedes-Benz S-Class S 350d.
According to Mercedes-Benz, the PM limit from its new BS-VI diesel vehicles is lower by 82% compared to the BS-IV diesel vehicles. Another relevant outcome of the new BS-VI compatible engines is that there has been a drastic decline in NOx emissions level by 68%, narrowing the gap between petrol and diesel emissions.
The Supreme Court order on the ban on the sale of BS-VI compliant vehicles has come well in advance and hopefully, the transition to higher emission standards will be smoother than the last time. During the last transition from BS-III to BS-IV in 2017, several automobile manufacturers faced heavy losses owing to huge stockpiles of outdated vehicles that remained after BS-IV emission norms were put into force.