India will switch to world's cleanest fuel from April 1, 2020

The move will help curb particulate matter, one of the major contributors of air pollution

Published: Friday 21 February 2020

India is set to switch to world’s cleanest petrol and diesel — to Bharat Stage VI (BS VI) fuel from BS IV fuel — from April 1,2020. With this, the country will join the league of nations that use fuel containing just 10 parts per million (PPM) of sulphur.

The move is expected to help curb particulate matter in the air — one of the major contributors of air pollution in the national capital, New Delhi.

India’s journey with Bharat stages began in 2000, when the country adopted its emission standards from European emission and fuel regulations.

The country adopted BS III fuel in 2010, with sulphur content of 150 ppm for petrol and 350 ppm for diesel.

BS IV, introduced seven years later, cut down the sulphur content to 50 ppm for both petrol and diesel.

Most refineries in the country kickstarted the production of BS VI fuel in April 2019, according to the Indian Oil Corporation.

The state-owned refineries spent Rs 35,000 crore to upgrade to ultra-low sulphur fuel. This is on top of Rs 60,000 crore they spent on refinery upgrades in the earlier shifts. In addition, fuel companies are required to flush out high sulphur content fuel from their depots, petrol bunks and tanks.

The new fuel will cut nitric oxides in BS VI-compliant vehicles by 25 per cent in petrol engines, and by 70 per cent in diesel ones. It will also reduce the levels of Benzene, a cancer-causing chemical, to 1 per cent from 5 per cent in 2000.

In November 2017, the government had announced that BS-VI fuels would be available in New Delhi from April 1, 2018. It was reported that around 397 fuel pumps in the national capital had started selling BS-VI grade petrol and diesel from March 2018.

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