A quick guide to BS-VI fuel norms that will kick off in Delhi from April

The sulphur content in BS VI fuel is substantially lower than that of BS IV fuel.

March 27, 2018 03:19 pm | Updated March 28, 2018 01:06 pm IST

 Paying more to cut emissions can help you save on medical bills Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup

Paying more to cut emissions can help you save on medical bills Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup

On April 1, Delhi will be the first city in our country to have fuel that is BS VI complaint . India currently operates on Bharat Stage IV emission norms for two-, three- and four-wheelers.

In a bid to bring down pollution levels and having cleaner cars on the road, the Government has decided to skip directly to BS VI norms by 2020.

This brings India closer to the world as Euro VI emission standards have been in place since 2014 across Europe. It is a bold move, when you look at one of the world’s biggest polluters: America. Vehicular pollution is America’s biggest carbon dioxide source, even as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief has put scientific evidence aside and said it’s not a cause of global warming. In fact, the EPA governs petrol and diesel vehicles on the same parameters, while Euro and Bharat differentiate between the two.

What are emission norms?

Let’s say this together: Vehicle pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels has played a big role in global warming. The need to cut down the emission levels is what led to the formation of such norms that limit vehicular emissions across the globe, with Europe’s Euro 1 coming into force in 1992 with the objective of having all vehicles comply by 1993. Europe has moved at a brisk pace by putting in place more stringent norms every 3-5 years and is currently operating at Euro VI emission standards. The Bharat emission norms that came into force in 1991 for petrol and ’92 for diesel were basic and primarily governed carbon monoxide output from vehicles. India introduced Euro I emission standards in 2000, by which time Europe was already operating at Euro III norms. We have been slower to implement change, primarily due to the costs involved and the quality of fuel available. With India moving on to Euro VI/ BS VI standards, we will finally be at par with Europe and that is quite a feat. For BS VI, the stipulated CO emissions for diesel vehicles is 0.50 g/km and for petrol is 1.0 g/km, NOx is regulated at 0.080 g/km for diesel and 0.060 g/km for petrol, while particulate matter (PM) is set at 0.005 g/km for both. We should see a substantial drop in air pollutants, especially for diesel vehicles, as current BS IV figures are 0.25 g/km NOx for and 0.025 g/km PM.

What are car companies doing about BS VI?

Vehicle manufacturers are investing in the tech to deliver according to the new guidelines, but they’re unlikely to release cars before the deadline, because new engines mean new costs. Mercedes-Benz India has introduced their S-Class with BS VI-compliant made-in-India engines two years prior to deadline.

What is the implication of cleaner fuel?

The sulphur content in BS VI fuel is substantially lower than that of BS IV fuel. Currently the sulphur content in our fuel is at 50 parts per million (PPM) while BS VI fuel has a sulphur content of 10 ppm.

How does all this matter to me?

There is a lot of talk about how cleaner fuel will damage your current vehicle. After all, a number of BS IV vehicles will still be running on our roads even in 2020 and this is a cause of concern. The truth is that cleaner fuel never hurts. Sure, it won’t make your car emit cleaner emissions, but it won’t damage the engine either. The only real impact to the layman will be the cost of a litre of fuel as BS VI fuel is expected to cost more.

Look at it this way: what you pay out on a bike or car, you save on medical bills and your lungs won’t look like that of a smoker.

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