- Environmental Imperatives
- Safety Requirements
- Competitive Pressures and
- Customer Expectations
There is a strong interlinking amongst all these
forces of change, influencing the automobile industry.
These have to be addressed consistently and strategically
to ensure competitiveness.
Since pollution is caused by various sources, it requires
an integrated, multidisciplinary approach. The different
sources of pollution have to be addressed simultaneously
in order to stall widespread damage.
THE PARAMETERS DETERMINING EMISSION FROM VEHICLES
While each one of the four factors mentioned above have
direct environmental implications, the vehicle and fuel
systems have to be addressed as a whole and jointly
optimised in order to achieve significant reduction
- Vehicular Technology
- Fuel Quality
- Inspection & Maintenance of In-Use Vehicles
- Road and Traffic Management
In India, the vehicle population is growing
at rate of over 5% per annum and today the vehicle population
is approximately 40 million. The vehicle mix is also
unique to India in that there is a very high proportion
of two wheelers (76%).
of Emission Norms in India
The significant environmental implications
of vehicles cannot be denied. The need to reduce vehicular
pollution has led to emission control through regulations
in conjunction with increasingly environment-friendly
It was only in 1991 that the first stage emission
norms came into force for petrol vehicles and in 1992
for diesel vehicles.
From April 1995 mandatory fitment of catalytic converters
in new petrol passenger cars sold in the four metros
of Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai and Chennai along with
supply of Unleaded Petrol (ULP) was affected. Availability
of ULP was further extended to 42 major cities and
now it is available throughout the country.
The emission reduction achieved from pre-89 levels
is over 85% for petrol driven and 61% for diesel vehicles
from 1991 levels.
In the year 2000 passenger cars and commercial vehicles
will be meeting Euro I equivalent India 2000 norms,
while two wheelers will be meeting one of the tightest
emission norms in the world.
Euro II equivalent Bharat Stage II norms are in force
from 2001 in 4 metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and
Since India embarked on a formal emission control
regime only in 1991, there is a gap in comparison
with technologies available in the USA or Europe.
Currently, we are behind Euro norms by few years,
however, a beginning has been made, and emission norms
are being aligned with Euro standards and vehicular
technology is being accordingly upgraded. Vehicle
manufactures are also working towards bridging the
gap between Euro standards and Indian emission norms.
In India we are yet to address the vehicle
and fuel system as a whole. It was in 1996 that the
Ministry of Environment and Forests formally notified
fuel specifications. Maximum limits for critical ingredients
like Benzene level in petrol have been specified only
recently and a limit of 5% m/m and 3% m/m has been
set for petrol in the country and metroes respectively.
In place of phase-wise upgradation of fuel specifications
there appears to be a region-wise introduction of
fuels of particular specifications. The high levels
of pollution have necessitated eliminating leaded
petrol, through out the country.
To address the high pollution in 4 metro cities 0.05%
sulphur petrol & diesel has been introduced since
2000-2001. The benzene content has been further reduced
to 1% in Delhi and Mumbai.
There is a need for a holistic approach so that upgradation
in engine technology can be optimised for maximum
Other factors influencing emission from vehicles.
INSPECTION & MAINTENANCE (I&M) OF
It has been estimated that at any point of
time, new vehicle comprise only 8% of the total vehicle
population. In India currently only transport vehicles,
that is, vehicles used for hire or reward are required
to undergo periodic fitness certification. The large
population of personalised vehicles are not yet covered
by any such mandatory requirement.
In most countries that have been able to control vehicular
pollution to a substantial extent, Inspection &
Maintenance of all categories of vehicles have been
one of the chief tools used. Developing countries
in the South East Asian region, which till a few years
back had severe air pollution problem have introduced
an I&M system and also effective traffic management.
ROAD & TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT
Inadequate and poor quality of road surface
leads to increased Vehicle Operation Costs and also
increased pollution. It has been estimated that improvements
in roads will result in savings of about 15% of Vehicle
The need for an integrated, holistic approach for
controlling vehicular emission cannot be over-emphasised.
More importantly, it is time now for the auto and
oil industry to come together under the guidance of
the Government in evolving fuel quality standards
and vehicular technology to meet air quality targets.