It could well be the end of the road for motorists in cities where only BS IV fuels are dispensed with, who go to neighbouring towns to tank up on cheaper, but relatively less eco-friendly BS III petrol and diesel as an expert committee has recommended elimination of such differential pricing.
In Karnataka, petrol and diesel conforming to BS IV emission norms — primarily with less sulphur — are available only in Bangalore. The State capital is among the first set of 13 cities across the country where BS IV fuels have been made available since April 2010.
If the recommendation of the committee on the next auto fuel policy is implemented, it could see motorists in the rest of the State also end up paying the same price as those in Bangalore.
Subsequently, BS IV fuels were extended to 26 cities, and an additional 24 locations are likely to get them by March 2015.
Considering that the committee has stuck to an earlier proposed BS IV rollout deadline of April 1, 2016, for the rest of the State, the period for which they pay a higher price despite continuing to be supplied with the existing product depends from when the recommendation is implemented.
“The retail price of BS III fuel should be the same as that of BS IV fuel. This will eliminate the incentive to use BS III fuel when BS IV fuel is also available,” says the expert committee on the Auto Fuel Vision and Policy 2025, headed by Planning Commission member Saumitra Chaudhuri. The report of the committee was placed in the public domain by the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (www.petroleum.nic.in) a few days ago.
While suggesting such a measure, the committee has called for pegging the price differential at 75 paise a litre for both petrol and diesel. A meeting on BS IV fuels in Delhi this March discussed the impact of the price difference. “The end-users lift BS III product from surrounding markets and use it in BS IV cities defeating the purpose,” according to a presentation made at the meeting.
The Saumitra Chaudhuri report says going by the experience “it was felt that the best course of action will be to bring entire geographies in stages to the BS IV standard”.