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Timeline: Vehicle emission control in India


Vehicle emission norms introduced in India


SC order government to introduce Euro norms like pollution control regime.

2000 onwards

Bharat State emission standard I introduced.


Dr. R.A. Mashelkar Committee drafted Auto Fuel Policy.Recommended

adopting Bharat stage 3 and stage 4 fuel standards.


Auto Fuel Policy 2003 implemented.Bharat 3 introduced in 13 major cities.


By 2010 entire India under Bharat stage 3.

2014, May

Saumitra Chaudhri gave recommendations. Hence in news.

What are Bharat emission standards?

Euro norms define the maximum limit of pollutant that a vehicle can emit. (CO2, nitrogen oxide,
sulfur and suspended particulate matter)

If vehicle emits more than this limit, it cannot be sold in Europe.

In India, we follow Euro norms under the label Bharat stage norms. we are gradually
implementing them in more and more cities

Bharat stage emission standards are emission standards instituted by the Government of India to
regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor
vehicles. The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by the Central Pollution Control
Board under the Ministry of Environment & Forests and climate change.
The drop in pollution levels that we saw in the early years of the millennium due to the shift to CNG
shows the importance of vehicle emissions in Delhis air pollution. Euro V and VI norms could reduce
particulate matter from diesel vehicles by 80 per cent.

automobile companies still manufacture

Bharat III vehicles, which emit twice as much particulate matter as Bharat IV. Euro VI standards will
reduce HC and NOx by 40 per cent over Bharat IV and by 70 per cent over Bharat III.

II (2)


2005: nation wide

III (3)


2010: nation wide

IV (4)



2011: 7 cities

2014: 24 more cities#

2017: (All India)#

V (5)


2022 (All India)#

VI (6)


after 2024 (All India)#

Sulfur lead content vs Bharat norms:

To reduce emission from vehicle, weve to fit catalytic converter, particulate filter, & other fancy
devices in its exhaustion system.

But the chemical catalysts in such devices get immobilized in presence of lead/sulphur.

Therefore, fuel should have minimal quantity of lead and sulfur. Else, youll have to replace those
fancy devices too often.

Lead: we are already selling lead-free petrol. Since year 2000 only lead free petrol sold in India.

sulfur: the Bharat norms give following limits:


particles per million (ppm) in diesel

present (BS3)


2017 (BS4)

50 (already done in BS4 cities)

2020 (BS5)


In order to comply with the BSIV norms, 2 and 3 wheeler manufacturers will have to fit an evaporative
emission control unit, which should lower the amount of fuel that is evaporated when the motorcycle is
Why additional Levy on petrol/diesel?
To implement Bharat norms, weve to do two things:
To Vehicle manufacturers

Youve fit catalytic converter, particulate filter & other fancy

gadgets in the engine. This will decrease soot & pollutants.

To Oil refineries

You produce fuel with less sulfur,

olefin & other impurities. (especially
for Bharat stage 5)

ok, Not a problem because these companies already fitting such

Problem because refiners have to

equipments in engine, before exporting vehicles to Europe. (due

buy machines and technology worth

to higher level Euro standards)

Rs.~80,000 crore.

Government can arrange cash for refineries, by imposing 75 Paise special fuel upgradation cess
on Petrol and Diesel. (says Sumitra Committee)Send this cash to Oil Industry Development Board
(OIDB).Then, OIDB will upgrade the refineries to Bharat stage 4 and 5.

The petroleum-refining industries claim to have spent Rs 40,000 crore to change to Euro IV
norms and that another Rs 35,000 crore will be needed to change to Euro VI. A total of Rs 75,000
crore may sound like a lot but its impact on the price of petrol and diesel will be only about Rs 1
per litre.This is the best chance as Petro products are available at cheaper rate.

Previously, recall Famous lawyer Harish Salve reported to supreme court and asked for 30% cess
on private diesel vehicles. and that money should be used for implementing Bharat stage 5 and 6.

Taxation: Misc. recommendations

Import duty should be 0% on both LNG and crude oil.

States VAT should be reduced on CNG sale (to promote CNG vehicles)

Bharat Standards: limitations


Four refineries in the North East- Guwahati, Digboi, Numaligarh and Bongaigaon- their
equipment outdated, cannot produce BS4, BS5 quality fuels.


Government designated only a few cities under BS-4 standards. BS-4 vehicles more expensive
than BS3. Hence public buys BS3 vehicles from peripheral towns to evade registration taxes.


BS3 fuel is cheaper than BS4 fuel.


On older vehicles, we need to fit catalytic after-treatment devices to reduce their emission. But
government & public not pursuing this project enthusiastically.


Our diesel to petrol usage ratio is almost (4.5): 1 hence more pollution. This ratio is low in USA,
Europe and Japan.

Flash point in Diesel

It is the lowest temperature at which a fuel starts turning into vapor (which will later ignite)

Flash point of diesel is set at 35 degree C. (under both BS3 and BS4.)

Some journalist argue that 35 degree is too dangerous. Because in India, temperature often above
40 degree celcius (Even EU has flash point limit 55 C, despite having cold climate.)

Sumitra rejects this hypothesis, because even tropical countries like Brazil and Argentina have
lower flash points. The temperature in and around the engine of the vehicle is well over 100 C
much above the highest flash point prescribed anywhere in the world. Hence 35 degree flash
point doesnt automatically mean explosion.

Misc. terms from his report

Olefin : These are unsaturated alkanes. We need to reduce their quantity in fuel, to reduce pollution.
Cetane number: It is a measure of diesel quality. LESSER the cetane number, better the quality.
Alternative Fuels
Overall, Saumitra report is three things

Bharat norms: implementing next stage


taxation issues


Alternative fuels- for reducing petrol and diesel consumption. Here, he give pros and cons of each

#1: Methanol
Good points

Bad points

Methanol is readily biodegradable in both

aerobic (oxygen present) and anaerobic
(oxygen absent) environments.

Methanol has a high toxicity in humans.

Even 10 ml pure methanol can cause

permanent blindness. (recall those hooch

is an alternative fuel for internal

combustion engines

liquor victims)

Methanol fire burns invisibly, while petrol

Can be used directly or by blending with

burns with a visible flame.So difficult to


detect methanol fire hazard.

Used in racing cars in many countries,

even in China.

Pure methanol is corrosive to engine and

fuel lines

#2: Ethanol

is an organic solvent .Ethanol itself burns cleaner and burns more completely than petrol.

Ethanol can be derived from Sugar cane juice and molasses.Molasses is the byproduct when
sugar cane juice converted to sugar.

Timeline of Ethanol blending program in India


Government permitted adding Ethanol in petrol. Pilot project in Uttar Pradesh.


5% Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) began in most states, except JK and North East.


National biofuel policy. Now oil companies required to blend atleast 5% ethanol with
petrol.But project mostly #EPICFAIL. Most companies not blending more than 2%
ethanol, because ethanol not easily available at reasonable price.


Sumitra Committee proposed 20% ethanol blending by 2017

Case study: Brazils ethanol blending program

Started in mid-70s.Their car-engines designed such way, they use even upto 18% ethanol

#3: Hydrogen fuel Bad points:


Cost of hydrogen pipeline is 15x times more expensive than a CNG/LPG pipeline.Hence, only few
areas of USA have hydrogen pipeline.


In the entire world hardly 200 hydrogen refiling stations by 2013. (rank: N.America > Asia >
South America)


Hydrogen burns with colorless odorless flame, hence hard to detect leakage.

Hydrogen Vision 2020 (GIFT)

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)s Green Initiatives for Future Transport (GIFT).It
has vision 2020 for Hydrogen.

Aim: sell Hydrogen at cost of 60-70 per kg

Build pipelines and refilling stations for hydrogen fuel.

Get at least 1 lakh hydrogen vehicles on Indian road.Safety regulation, laws and codes.

#4: CNG: Compressed Natural gas



CNG emits far less pollutants than petrol

or diesel

CNG doesnt have carcinogens like


investment than petrol pump.

Public not ready to buy CNG kits/vehicles because

Lack of CNG filling stations in many


Success story in Delhi and Mumbai

CNG-public transport.

CNG filling station requires more


Price difference between CNG vs

petrol/diesel not that big.

#5: LPG-Liquefied Petroleum gas

LPG is predominantly propane and butane. Propane constitutes 30-99%.

LPG can be derived from.

refining crude oil

natural gas

Hence no risk of single source dependence.LPG is globally surplus because of Natural Gas
production.In some countries, LPG is called Auto-Gas and used in taxis e.g. Korea, Turkey,
Russia, Poland and Italy.

Good points

bad points

emits far less pollutants than petrol or diesel

Unlike CNG, the LPG does not require elaborate gas

grid-network or compressor station at refueling
stations.Therefore, LPG refilling station can be opened
with less investment. Cheaper in long run.

Today, cost per km for LPG

car is almost equals petrol

So there is no cost-advantage
to make public shift from
petrol cars to LPG cars.

#6: Hybrid and electric vehicles (HEV)

HEVs have both internal combustion (running on petrol) and electricity.

Both USA and China planning to add 1-5 million new HEV vehicles by 2020.

India should also work on this.

Suggestions to reduce tailpipe pollution


BEE (Bureau of energy efficiency) labels on vehicles to show their fuel efficiency.


We need to replace the existing PUC system to a more reliable computerized system.


We need to link vehicle insurance with pollution. (i.e. higher pollution vehicle should be ordered
to pay higher premium for same coverage)


Give subsidy, tax-benefit to vehicle owners to retrofit their engines with newly emission control


Impose higher taxes on old vehicles, because they emit more gases.More tax on diesel guzzling
SUV cars.Less tax on hybrid cars, CNG vehicles.Use chemical markers to detect adulteration of
diesel/petrol with kerosene. Make oil companies responsible for fuel quality at their station.

Obligatory labelling
There is also no provision to make the CO2 emissions labeling mandatory on cars in the country. A
system exists in the EU to ensure that information relating to the fuel economy and CO2 emissions of new
passenger cars offered for sale or lease in the Community is made available to consumers to enable
consumers to make an informed choice.