Panel has until year-end to finalize India’s fuel economy norms for heavy-duty vehicles

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has given a fourth extension to a high-level, multi-sectoral committee tasked with developing new fuel economy norms for heavy-duty vehicles in India. The committee is composed of representatives from the Department of Heavy Industries and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, as well as the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and the Society of Indian Automotive Manufacturers (SIAM).

The committee was originally supposed to submit its report by September 30, 2015, but was given a six-month extension till March 31, 2016. Thereafter, the panel received two three-month extensions; the third extension was granted last week and will be due by December 31, 2016, local media reported.

Diesel fuel, which powers most heavy-duty vehicles in India, represents 43% of India’s total fuel consumption. Thus, the recommendation of the committee will have huge consequences on India’s fuel market.

The panel is supposed not only to recommend the schedule for the implementation of these fuel economy norms, but also recommend policy guidelines, including incentives for phasing out old commercial vehicles, which represent a huge part of India’s commercial vehicle fleet.

“In view of growing dependence of the country on import of crude oil and the fact that the highest consumption of diesel is by commercial vehicles i.e 26.75%, followed by 10.75% by buses/state transport undertakings (STUs), it has been felt imperative by the Government to define fuel economy norms for heavy-duty vehicles (trucks and buses) in India,” the July 2014 notification said.