Auto LPG Suppliers Raise Concerns Over Stalled Growth Of Eco-Friendly Fuel
Fuel drips from the nozzle of a fuel pump hose at a gas station. (Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

Auto LPG Suppliers Raise Concerns Over Stalled Growth Of Eco-Friendly Fuel

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The apex body for auto liquefied petroleum gas suppliers on Wednesday raised concern over the "stalled growth" of the eco-friendly automotive fuel, saying due to several "detrimental" government policies, India has been missing out on "huge" environmental benefits that can be accrued by shifting to it.

Auto LPG is a portable, eco-friendly fuel used in vehicles which in turn helps curb vehicular emissions and pollution.

A statement issued by the Indian Auto LPG Coalition said the LPG sector has been seeking support from the government to boost the usage of this fuel, which is present in the country in abundance.

"Auto LPG is eco-friendly and available in abundance. The Auto LPG sector has been seeking policy support from the government. Currently, several policies are stalling the growth of this fuel,” said Suyash Gupta, director general, IAC.

"One of the most detrimental policies that have contributed to curtailed growth of conversions to Auto LPG and CNG (compressed natural gas) are the existing Type approval norms for vehicle conversions to gaseous fuels," Gupta added.

Type approval or certificate of conformity is required to obtain conversion kits in vehicles to switch from one fuel to another.

Gupta told PTI that the Type approval norms in the country are "cost prohibitive" and must be changed.

"These norms of the Ministry of Road and Transport and Highways require extremely cost prohibitive Type Approvals for Auto LPG and CNG conversions to be renewed every three years,” he said.

"This punishing practice, that is in complete variance of established global norms, has been extremely detrimental to the conversion industry in India. In fact, the government's cleaner fuel push in the form of the City Gas Distribution project faces the threat of being stalled due to lack of conversion providers, owing to these draconian regulations," he added.

The IAC said while Auto LPG has consistently been cheaper than petrol by almost 45-50 percent, yet "India has been missing out on huge environmental benefits that can accrue by shifting to Auto LPG."

"Auto LPG has almost 50 percent lesser PM emissions than CNG and petrol and 80 percent lower PM than diesel, with lower carbon dioxide emissions," it said.

Gupta said the IAC has urged the government to make the type approval validity perpetual.

"We have made several representations and sent letters to the Ministry of Road Transport asking for laws to be brought in line with European norms where the Type Approval Validity is perpetual," he said.

Highlighting the problem, the IAC said conversion kits are placed in the highest Goods and Services Tax bracket of 28 percent which is a hindrance in promoting clean energy.

"Another highly problematic issue is of conversion kits for both Auto LPG and CNG being placed in the highest GST bracket of 28 percent.”

"The high GST rate is proving detrimental to the conversion industry and hampering the growth of environment friendly transport fuels at a time when our cities are reeling under the impact of harmful vehicular emissions. The GST on conversion kits must be brought under the 5 percent slab to encourage more conversions."

The IAC is the nodal body for the promotion of Auto LPG in India. Members of the Coalition include the oil sector public sector undertakings, private Auto LPG marketers, Kit Suppliers and Equipment Manufacturers.

The Coalition also works with the World LPG Association, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers and Automotive Research Association of India.

The body highlighted that despite its environmental benefits in the long run, Auto LPG is also slabbed at a high GST rate of 18 percent that pushes up its cost for consumers.

"This is inexplicable for a country that is yearning for clean air," Gupta said.

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