Use of blended diesel suspended since January

The green initiative of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to use ethanol-blended fuel for all its buses, to reduce fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions, has come to a halt. The reason: the transport corporation started buying diesel from retail stations after the price of diesel for bulk consumers was hiked in January.

Only in depots

Since January, buses plying on intra-city routes in Mysore are tanking up at retail fuel stations to save cost on diesel. As the retail fuel stations lack ethanol-diesel blending arrangement, about 250 buses, mostly those without high-performance engines, are now running on unblended diesel. Only the fuel stations located at KSRTC depots here have the ethanol-diesel blending facility.

Sources in the KSRTC told The Hindu that the corporation saves about 50 paise per km in the operating costs by using blended diesel. “Though the corporation is saving much more by purchasing diesel in the open market, the green initiative, which had come under appreciation from various quarters, has come to a halt.”

A senior KSRTC official said, “Only 7 per cent of ethanol has to be blended with diesel as per the norms stipulated to us. The blending has been suspended until the corporation decides on bulk purchase of diesel and refuelling resumes in our depots.”

The official said bulk purchase of diesel was likely to resume as talks were under way with a public sector oil company.

450 buses

The KSRTC’s Mysore Urban division has depots in Kuvempunagar, Sathagalli and Bannimantap and has a fleet of nearly 450 buses.

Reckoned to be the first urban transport corporation in the country to adopt cleaner technologies by using ethanol-diesel blend to run buses, the KSRTC started experimenting with alternative fuel in two vehicles seven years ago. Later, blended diesel was used on a pilot basis in Mysore for three years, as well as in 20 other places, including Bangalore and Hassan.

Until last year, nearly 250 buses were running on blended diesel.

KSRTC official expressed hope that some arrangement would be worked out to run at least a few buses on blended diesel until refuelling resumes in depots.

The previous BJP government had announced that it would take steps to introduce ethanol as a fuel blend in all KSRTC buses and an approval from the Union government would be sought to increase the percentage of blending.

  • About 250 buses were running on blended diesel in Mysore

  • KSRTC buying diesel from retail outlets after diesel price for bulk consumers was hiked