For the past two winters, Delhi has witnessed high smog levels owing to vehicular pollution & crop-burning. To ensure that pollution is kept under control, the Delhi government decided to introduce BS-VI grade petrol & diesel in the capital two years ahead of schedule in April 2018. But the move by the government, though praiseworthy and much needed, presents crucial issues that need remedy;
1. Delhi has a vehicular population in excess of 1 Crore. To ensure that all petrol and diesel vehicles get the BS- VI fuel, all petrol pumps need to upgrade their facilities to ensure a seamless experience. Any lags in ensuring supply of fuel could lead to traffic jams and even strikes by truck/tempo/trade unions. The government needs to make sure that adequate supply is maintained so that snake like queues are reduced & flow of goods and people is easily undertaken
2. Aging vehicles equal to or more than 15 years would see decreased efficiency. Since BS- VI fuel works best with a compatible BS- VI engine or at least a BS-IV one, running an older engine on a higher performance fuel may lead to the engine breaking down or generating more fumes due to inefficient combustion. This may end up forcing people to buy a new vehicle, which may not necessarily curb pollution. If the government can offer a buyback scheme for old vehicles or give attractive discounts on old vehicles, I would think about swapping my vehicle. The government can also look into roping in institutions to ensure that old vehicles are effectively recycled.
3. BS-VI fuel, being more refined in nature, may attract a higher price. Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and the govt. need to work upon a revenue sharing model that benefits everyone from the producer to the consumer.
4. OMCs need to ensure that the BS-VI fuel passes all quality checks before being made available for mass consumption. Any lags in this process could further the pollution rather than reduce it.
Rather than just focusing on combustion vehicles, the Indian Government can also divert financial, technical and logistical push to e-vehicles and greener transport, under its FAME scheme. This will ensure reduction in noxious emissions to a great extent.