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India to transition to Bharat Stage VI-compliant fuels by 1 April 2018

The Indian government has announced that it will start the transition to Bharat Stage VI-compliant petrol and diesel fuel on 1 April 2018, two years ahead of schedule, in the national capital region.

Bharat Stage VI or BS-VI emissions standards are scheduled to be implemented from 1 April 2020.

On February 5, the Supreme Court asked the Secretary of India’s Petroleum Ministry to file an affidavit clarifying whether Euro-VI or BS-VI standard motor fuel would be available at all retail outlets of oil marketing companies in Delhi or only at select petrol pumps.

“After taking into account the serious pollution levels in Delhi and adjoining areas and as per the decision taken by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in consultation with Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), it is respectfully submitted that BS-VI auto fuels will be supplied in all retail outlets of Delhi from 1 April 2018,” the government said in an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court.

Last month, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) told the Supreme Court that its member-companies will not be in a position to manufacture BS VI-compliant vehicles before 2020. It sought a window of three months after the March 31, 2020 deadline to sell off their existing inventory. Last year, automobile manufacturers also informed the Supreme Court of technological difficulties in starting the process of converting vehicles to meet BS VI emissions standards by 2019, to meet the April 2020 deadline.

Last year, the court banned the sale and registration of vehicles that are not compliant with Bharat Stage IV emission standards after 31 March 2017. India has decided to skip Bharat Stage V and transition directly from BS-IV to BS-VI, a decision that was widely applauded by environmental organizations.

The number of registered vehicles in India’s national capital region now exceeds 1 million, which includes a fleet more of more than 300,000 cars and 600,000 two- and three-wheelers.

According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), BS-VI fuel, at 10 parts per million (ppm) maximum sulfur content, would reduce the sulfur content by 80% percent from the current BS-IV levels, which would enable emission control systems in the existing fleet to perform better and reduce air pollution in the world’s most polluted city.