New Delhi: Ultra-clean Euro-VI grade petrol and diesel, at no additional price, will be supplied in the national capital from tomorrow in a bid to combat alarming levels of air pollution.
Delhi will be the first city in the country to leapfrog from Euro-IV grade petrol and diesel to Euro-VI. Cities in the national capital region like Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram and Faridabad as well as 13 major cities including Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune will switch over to cleaner Euro-VI grade fuel from January 1 next year.
Rest of the country will follow suit from April 2020. State-owned oil firms will begin supplying the BS-VI petrol and diesel (equivalent to fuel meeting Euro-VI emission norm) at all their 391 petrol pumps in the national capital territory (NCT) from tomorrow, said Indian Oil Corp (IOC) Director (Refineries) B V Rama Gopal.
While the oil companies have invested heavily to produce cleaner fuel, the consumers are not being passed on any of the cost for the time being, he said.
"Rest assured we don't have plans of passing on the cost to consumers. There are no plans to recover (the cost) from customers immediately," he told reporters here.
Costing wise, the cleaner fuel should cost around 50 paisa a litre more. He said a mechanism of recovering the cost when the whole country shifts to Euro-VI grade fuel would be worked out.
To meet Delhi's annual consumption of 9.6 lakh tonnes of petrol and 12.65 lakh tonnes of diesel, Mathura refinery in Uttar Pradesh, Panipat refinery in Haryana, Bina in Madhya Pradesh and Bhatinda in Punjab have started producing Euro-VI grade fuel.
About Rs 183 crore has been spent on Panipat refinery alone for producing cleaner fuel.
Other refineries are in the process of being upgraded, he said. India had in 2015 decided to leapfrog to Euro-VI emission norm compliant petrol and diesel from April 2020, from the Euro-IV grade at present.
While the deadline for the rest of the country stands, the same for Delhi, which is choking on thick toxic smog, was brought forward.
Euro-VI grade fuel contains 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur as against 50 ppm in Euro-IV fuels.
Gopal said the cleaner Euro-VI fuel and lesser grade cars and two-wheelers, which are presently available in the country, would result in 10-20 per cent reduction in particulate emission but for full benefits, the vehicles too need to have Euro-VI engines.
"BS-VI petrol and diesel supplies from tomorrow give comfort to automobiles manufacturers that supplies of cleaner fuel would not be a problem," the official said.
IOC, the nation's biggest oil firm controlling roughly half of retail fuel market, will source the BS-VI fuel to meet Delhi's requirement from its Mathura and Panipat refineries, while Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) will do so from its joint venture refinery at Bhatinda. Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) will supply the fuel from its Bina refinery.
According to IOC, for petrol engines, one of the most critical specifications is Research Octane No (RON), which has improved from 88 in BS-II to 91.
It is at par with regular 91 octane gasoline (petrol) required for Euro VI emission norms. Sulphur specification for petrol and diesel will be reduced 50 times from a level of 500 ppm for BS-II fuel to 10 ppm in BS-VI.
Previously, the fuels meeting Euro-IV or Bharat Stage (BS)-IV specifications were to be supplied throughout the country by April 2017 and BS-V or Euro-V grade fuel by April 1, 2020. But now the government plans to switch over directly from BS-IV to BS-VI auto fuels.
Oil refineries had previously upgraded technology and invested over Rs 55,000 crore for production and supply of BS-III/IV fuels. Oil refineries will need to invest Rs 28,000 crore in upgrading petrol and diesel quality to meet cleaner fuel specifications by 2020.