India, the world's third biggest oil importing and consuming nation, achieved the target to blend 10% sugarcane-extracted ethanol in petrol ahead of schedule, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 76th Independence Day, he rooted for energy independence and a nation self-sufficient in meeting its energy needs.
"We need to be Aatmanirbhar (self-sufficient) in our energy sector," he said.
For a nation, 85% dependent on imports for meeting its oil needs and 50% for gas requirements, the key is alternate energy sources - from renewable power to hydrogen and switching to electric vehicles from current petrol and diesel-run automobiles.
"From solar energy to Mission Hydrogen to adoption to EVs, we need to take these initiatives to the next level for energy independence," he said.
In a bid to cut reliance on imported oil, the government is pushing for mixing of ethanol, made from sugarcane and other Agri commodities, in petrol.
Mr. Modi said India achieved the target of blending 10 per cent ethanol in petrol ahead of schedule.
The target of supplying petrol mixed with 10% ethanol (10% ethanol, 90% petrol) was achieved in June, ahead of the original schedule of November 2022. Encouraged by the success, the government advanced the target of making petrol with 20% ethanol by five years to 2025.
Last week, the Prime Minister stated that 10% ethanol blending had resulted in saving of about ₹50,000 crore of foreign exchange, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and gave farmers an alternate source of income.
India is the world's fifth largest producer of ethanol after the U.S., Brazil, the EU and China. Ethanol worldwide is largely used for consumption but nations like Brazil and India also dope it in petrol.
As the availability of ethanol increases, the equivalent amount of crude (used for petrol production) import is reduced.
The Centre had announced an additional duty of ₹2 per litre on unblended fuels starting October 2022 to incentivise blending. That duty will no longer be effective as the target of 10% blend has been achieved.