Use of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) in countries like India is “criminal”, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Friday, and pitched for evolving an effective fuel policy regime to discourage the use of such vehicles that emit more carbons.

“The luxurious growth of large-size vehicles like SUVs is really a growth of concern... use of vehicles like SUVs and BMW in countries like India is criminal,” Mr. Ramesh said at a United Nations function in New Delhi. “I think, we seriously need to think about fuel policy regime,” he said.

The Minister said there should be a reformed diesel policy as the real beneficiaries of the diesel subsidy are the owners of the “BMWs, the Benzs and Hondas” and not farmers. “We are subsidising diesel. We have reformed policy as far as petrol is concerned. We are yet to reform as far as the net effect of diesel subsidy is concerned,” he said.

“The subsidy in the social security sector should be really for LPG and kerosene,” he said, adding, a fuel policy regime was needed to control carbon emissions.

“We cannot ask people to buy or not to buy a particular car. But through an effective fiscal policy, we can certainly have an impact,” he said.

Mr. Ramesh said the transport sector contributed 7.5 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the country and this is expected to be 15 per cent in the next 15 to 20 years. “We are worried and we are looking at how to control these emissions from transport sector. For this to happen, there should be mandatory fuel efficiency standards,” he said.

The minister added that a national transport policy committee has been constituted and the committee would give its recommendations in the next 12 to 15 months.

Dismissing the notion that the increased use of electric cars would help reduce carbon emissions, the minister said those who advocated it think that “electricity comes from heavens.”