With an aim to combat the rising levels of air pollution in Delhi-NCR region, petrol pumps in the capital from Sunday started supplying ultra-clean Bharat Stage VI grade fuel (both petrol and diesel). This move makes New Delhi the first city in the country to switch from BS-IV grade fuels to BS-VI (equivalent to fuel meeting Euro-VI emission norms). Other cities like Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram and Faridabad along with 13 major cities, including Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune, will also switch over to cleaner BS-VI grade fuel from January 1 next year. However, BS- VI fuel will be rolled out in rest of the country by April 2020.
Difference between BS-IV and the new BS-VI
The major difference in standards between the existing BS-IV and the new BS-VI auto fuel norms is the presence of sulphur. The newly introduced fuel is estimated to reduce the amount of sulphur released by 80 percent, from 50 parts per million to 10 ppm. As per the analysts, the emission of NOx (nitrogen oxides) from diesel cars is also expected to reduce by nearly 70 percent and 25 percent from cars with petrol engines.
However, the introduction of higher grade fuel will be beneficial only if it is done in tandem with the roll-out of BS-VI compliant vehicles. Using BS-VI fuel in the current BS-IV engines or, conversely, running BS-VI engines on the current-grade fuel, may be ineffective in curbing vehicular pollution, and may damage the engine in the long run.
It was decided in 2015 that the country will switch from BS-IV grade fuel to BS-VI grade fuel by April 2020. While the deadline stands for the rest of the country, in Delhi the authorities were compelled to advance the introduction of a cleaner fuel looking at the deteriorating conditions of the air quality. The decision was taken by the Petroleum Ministry on November last year, where it stated that BS-VI grade auto fuels would be dispensed with effect from April 1, 2018, instead of the scheduled April 1, 2020. The ministry had then said the advancement was part of the government’s “concerted efforts to reduce vehicular emissions and improve fuel efficiency with an aim to reduce the carbon footprints and keep a healthy environment.”