The government told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) auto fuels will be made available in phases by April 1, 2019 in 17 out of 23 districts in the National Capital Region of Delhi.
The government told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) auto fuels will be made available in phases by April 1, 2019 in 17 out of 23 districts in the National Capital Region of Delhi. It also said that it would not be able to reduce the price gap between diesel and petrol as the same would impact inflation. The ministry of petroleum and natural gas, in consultation with oil marketing companies (OMCs), told a bench led by Justice Madan B Lokur that it would not be feasible to provide the eco-friendly fuel in 11 metro cities before the scheduled date of April 1, 2020 due to product and logistic constraints. These 11 cities include Kanpur, Lucknow, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Surat, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Sholapur. However, it said that the BS-VI fuel will also be made available in Agra in Uttar Pradesh on or before April 1, 2019.
According to sources, although the OMCs are making efforts to prepone the implementation of the BS-VI grade auto fuel in some cities ahead of the pan-India schedule, full benefit of the eco-fuel can be derived only when the engines of the automobiles are BS-VI compliant. The oil ministry, in its 13-page affidavit, also said that the existing vehicles need to be retrofitted with necessary equipment like catalytic converter, diesel particulate filter, selective calatytic reduction etc to get full benefit of upgraded fuel.
However, the PSU OMCs further informed the government that the expected emission benefits are much lower when BS-VI fuel is used in BS-IV and lower vintage vehicles. “Since the hardware of the engine remains same and the fuel is changed to BS-VI from BS-IV, only marginal reduction (0.5% as per literature) in particulate matter emission and insignificant difference in NOx emissions are expected in BS-IV heavy duty diesel engines and diesel passenger cars,” the petroleum ministry affidavit stated.
Additional solicitor-general A N S Nadkarni, representing the Centre, told the court that it would not be possible to change the pricing structure of diesel since the maximum basic excise duty was already being levied on the fuel. Regarding reducing the price gap between diesel and petrol, it said that if the gap is further reduced by increasing central excise duty, and VAT on diesel, it will have an adverse impact on inflation and will also impact all sectors, including agriculture and transportation.