Indian OMCs and OEMs debate on BS-VI fuel availability
Though the petroleum refining industry is keen to jump BS-V fuel requirements and make a generational jump from BS-IV to VI emission norms
Though the petroleum refining industry is keen to jump BS-V fuel requirements and make a generational jump from BS-IV to VI emission norms, the Indian automobile industry has applied the brakes on this thought process.
Vehicle manufacturers have firmly asserted that changes to meet evolving stringent emission norms involves time and harnessing of advanced technologies for incorporating the necessary changes. Therefore, they are keen that the Euro 5 and Euro 6 emission norms are enforced in a step-by-step manner. Petroleum industry officials, on the other hand, are of the opinion that the same amount of investments would be made whether for transiting to Euro V or VI fuels. Hence, the Euro V stage can be skipped.
To debate this, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) had organised its fifth conference on ‘Diesel for Future’ in New Delhi where senior industry representatives and bureaucrats exchanged views on the emission roadmap for the country.
During the discussion, it emerged that the oil marketing companies (OMCs) are ready to make BS VI fuel available in the country from the year 2020 onwards. But Pawan Goenka, executive director and president, Automotive Farm Equipment Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra, said that the industry is not in favour of skipping Euro 5 emission (BS V) norms and going straightaway to Euro 6. He said that talks are underway between the government and industry for putting in place an auto fuel policy in place wherein diesel would play an important role not only for heavy duty but light duty vehicles as well.
Tracing the history of diesel fuel over the past decade, he talked of how 10 years ago diesel was not considered a clean fuel but because of the price performance advantage, technologists were working hard on changing that opinion. The fuel was steadily becoming very popular in passenger cars as well and once BS-V and VI emission norms were in force, diesel would become still cleaner. In future, competing requirements of environment, safety on roads, energy security and clean vehicles would drive the change in the industry.
Speakers underlined the role of the government in laying priority on framing a farsighted roadmap for ushering in cleaner emissions norms, sustainable pricing model for diesel fuel and a policy for fleet modernisation.
Ambuj Sharma, additional secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, said: “The government will decide on the timelines to move to BS-VI emission norms in an appropriate manner in discussion with all stakeholders.” He spoke of BS-IV fuel network being expanded across India in the next two years and assured the industry that the government would “not sleep on it”.
Friedrich Boecking, regional president, Diesel Systems, Bosch also reiterated the need for suitable development time for moving to BS-V and BS-VI emission norms in steps, to enable vehicle and engine manufacturers to develop their technology to suit specific Indian road conditions, climate and driving patterns.
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