BS-VI Fuel: India To Switch To World’s Cleanest Petrol, Diesel From April 1
A fuel pump stands at an HPCL gas station in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

BS-VI Fuel: India To Switch To World’s Cleanest Petrol, Diesel From April 1

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India will switch to the world's cleanest petrol and diesel from April 1, when it moves to Bharat Stage VI-compliant fuel from BS-IV grades now.

With that, India will join the select league of nations using petrol and diesel containing just 10 parts per million of sulphur and emission standards are as good as CNG.

Sanjiv Singh, chairman of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., said almost all refineries began producing ultra-low sulphur BS-VI petrol and diesel by the end of 2019. Oil companies have now undertaken the tedious task of replacing every drop of fuel in the country with a new one.

"We are absolutely on track for supplying BS-VI fuel from April 1. Almost all refineries have begun supplying BS-VI fuel and the same has reached storage depots across the country," he said.

Also read: No End In Sight For India’s Auto Slump, Says Fitch

From storage depots, the fuel has started travelling to petrol pumps and, in the next few weeks, all of them will have BS-VI grade petrol and diesel, he said. "We are 100 percent confident that fuel that’ll flow from the nozzles at all petrol pumps in the country on April 1 will be BS-VI compliant.”

BS-I emission norms were introduced for new vehicles from April 2000. BS-II was introduced in Delhi from 2000 and extended to other metro cities in 2001.

India adopted BS-III fuel with sulphur content of 350 ppm in 2010 and then took seven years to move to BS-IV that had a sulphur content of 50 ppm.

From BS-IV to BS-VI, it took just three years.

"It was a conscious decision to leapfrog to BS-VI as first upgrading to BS-V and then shifting to BS-VI would have prolonged the journey to 4-6 years. Besides, oil refineries, as well as automobile manufacturers, would have had to make investments twice—first to producing BS-V grade fuel and engines and then BS-VI ones," Singh said.

State-owned oil refineries spent about Rs 35,000 crore to upgrade plants that could produce the ultra-low sulphur fuel. This investment is on top of Rs 60,000 crore they spent on refinery upgrades in the previous switchovers.

Originally, Delhi and its adjoining towns were to have BS-VI fuel supplies by April 2019 and the rest of the country was to get the same from April 2020. Oil marketing firms, however, switched over to supply of BS-VI grade fuels in Delhi NCR on April 1, 2018, itself.

The supply of BS-VI fuels was further extended to four districts of Rajasthan and eight of Uttar Pradesh in the Delhi NCR on April 1, 2019, and the city of Agra. BS-VI grade fuels were made available in seven districts of Haryana from Oct. 1, 2019.

According to the Indian Oil chairman, the new fuel will result in a reduction in NOx in BS-VI compliant vehicles by 25 percent in petrol cars and by 70 percent in diesel cars.

Benzene limits have been reduced progressively from 5 percent in 2000 to 1 percent nationwide. Lead content in gasoline was removed in phases and only unleaded gasoline has been produced and sold from Feb. 1, 2000.

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