the Union government's much-delayed plan to introduce ethanol-blended petrol is finally being implemented. Field trials will soon begin at Miraj in Maharashtra and at Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh. "The trials will determine whether the five per cent ethanol additive to petrol can be introduced nationwide," said Union petroleum minister Ram Naik. Prominent environmentalists in the country have also called for the introduction of ethanol as a blending stock rather than the carcinogenic methyl tertiary butyl ether (mtbe) , which is currently being used. Even the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry says that ethanol's use must be encouraged if vehicular emissions are to come down.
The use of ethanol will prove to be economically viable, too, as it will bring down the oil import bill, besides giving the much-wanted impetus to the sugar industry. Ethanol can be indigenously produced from molasses -- a byproduct of the sugar industry or other agricultural waste.
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