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COVID-19- Will the BS6 deadline get a few weeks reprieve

Published On Mar 27, 2020By Trucksdekho Editorial Team

In less than a week, Indian trucks playing across the country will get only BS6 fuel. Yet, the availability of fuel in the interior parts of the country likely to get squeezed by the nationwide lockdown.

India, like much of the world, is shut down completely to contain the spread of Coronavirus for the next 18 more days bringing the whole economy to a standstill. However, once life return to normal, India will witness a significant technological leap forward. Beginning April 1st, with the historic transition to BS6 emissions, India will become part of the select countries to have leapfrogged to stricter norms worldwide. This was one of the boldest, at the same time, a challenging policy decision by the government, as nowhere in the world a transition like this took place in such a short period.

The government and oil companies promised the availability of BS6 fuel for retail consumption across the country from April 1st. Fuel stations have already started working on the process of upgrading to dispense the high-quality BS6 fuel. But the Covid-19 has changed everything as normal economic activities have halted completely. Consequently, the whole transition maybe postpones until fuel distribution gets back on schedule. Industry bodies will notify the government on this issue, post that an announcement is likely to come as the government is taking necessary policy steps to address the concern due to lockdown.     

Due to lockdown for the last few days, the sale of BS4 vehicles has stopped, thus aggravating the inventory issue for OEMs and dealers. Reports suggest that lakhs of BS4 vehicle remain unsold which is further deteriorated by Covid-19. This will incur a huge financial loss to the dealers and OEMs, and they will be left with scrapping BS4 vehicles as the current law doesn’t allow registration of these vehicles after 31st March.

The Federation of Dealers Association of India (FADA) has filed a petition in the Supreme Court on the issue of the extension of BS4 vehicles. The matter will be heard via video conferring by 3 pm today and a lot is now riding on the court’s decision.

Clean air

Given the rising pollution and worsening air-quality in Indian cities, the government decided to take such a drastic step to check the vehicular emission. Despite a huge challenge, the Indian automotive industry with a collective effort has demonstrated the successful development of BS6 vehicles in record time. The BS6 implementation shall now mark a fundamental shift for superior fuel standards in India as it will reduce the sulfur content responsible for toxic air quality.

The advent of BS6 fuel will herald the new dawn for vehicular pollutions across Indian cities and towns. The reduction in nitrogen (NOx) will be significant; a petrol vehicle will reduce NOx by 25% and diesel vehicles by 70% after switching over to BS6 fuel. Also, importantly, IndianOil Research proves that the use of BSVI quality fuels will only further improve performance for the existing BS6 compliant vehicles.

Sizable Investment

Indian automotive industry and the oil refineries together have invested over Rs 100,000 crore to make this transition successful. The auto sector spent nearly 70,000 Cr and the refineries over 35,000 Cr this joint investment and efforts towards achieving the made it possible to be ready within record time. 

According to the government, all Indian refineries are now well equipped for the BSVI rollout and are well placed to guarantee the highest quality fuel at the nozzle tip. Even the retail network of petrol pumps across the country is now geared up to supply cleaner fuel to the consumer.

India first adopted the BS-I emission norms in the year 2000 for the first time. This was followed by BS-2 in 2001, BS-3 came in 2010. The BS4 followed seven years in 2017. However, India made one of the fastest and quickest transitions to BS4 to BS6 within three years, the first country globally to do so. This was a difficult decision both for the government to implement and for the Auto Industry to get ready in such a short time.

Scrappage policy 

BS6 implementation is a big step towards reducing pollutions but this will only be limited to new vehicles. However, the old vehicles-some of them are even 15-20 years old-running across India are emitting perilous tail-pile emission. Unless these vehicles are taken off completely, the visible change in pollutions reduction isn’t likely to happen. This warrants an urgent need of scrappage policy which shall incentivise old vehicle owners to scrape the vehicles and buy a new one.

The government already started working towards this with a scrappage policy is in the final stage and likely to be made public. Yet, it all depends on what size and shape this policy takes effect. Because unless the present vehicle user gets enough benefits/redemption or subsidy to scrap his vehicle and buy a new one, the policy won’t make any real impact.

Read more: India geared-up for the cleanest fuel in the world 

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