Clean Fuel : India to use World’s Cleanest Petrol & Diesel by April 1, 2020

India to use World’s Cleanest Petrol & Diesel by April 1, 2020

What is Clean Fuel?

  • Fuels which have no hydrocarbon content, do not cause pollution and are not injurious to health are called Clean Fuels. Also, fuels which have limited levels of sulphur or low carbon content which can be deemed environmentally acceptable are also known as clean fuels.
  • Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), propane, low-sulphur fuels are all termed as clean fuels.
  • Using clean fuels is beneficial for environment and human health because they release less air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • Adopting such practices is a good step towards reducing the country’s carbon-footprint and becoming a Green-economy.


India’s Step – 


  • From April 1, this year, India will switch to the world’s cleanest petrol and diesel. This move is in harmony with the Supreme Court’s order of 24 October last year which state’s that no BS-IV vehicle will be sold from April 1, 2020.
  • This fuel will contain only 10 parts per million of sulphur in it, consequently bringing down emission levels by about 51% and therefore will cut PM 2.5 and PM 10 in the air. The sulphur content is 5 times lower than that of the BS-IV norms.
  • For real time tracking of emissions, Onboard Diagnostics (OBD) and Real Driving Emission( RDE) would be present on vehicles.
  • The BS-VI is a leapfrog from BS-IV, skipping BS-V. Also, this has been achieved in just 3 years which is a quick transition when analysing the past transitions – shifting to BS-IV which contains 50 ppm of sulphur from BS-III which contains 350 ppm sulphur took 7 long years.
  • Such a fast transition has not been seen in any country so far. Also, this way India has joined the group of select nations which use clean fuels.
  • The decision to jump to BS-VI directly from BS-IV was taken because switching to BS-V would have elongated the process by another 5-6 years. And, automobile manufacturers would have to change the designs twice first for BS-V and then BS-VI, also, oil refineries would have had to make investments two times.
  • Also, the refineries have started producing the new fuel compliant with BS-VI norms and would be able to deliver the new fuel to all petrol pumps till April.
  • A sum of 35,000 crores has been spent to upgrade the refineries to be able to produce the new fuel with ultra-low sulphur content. Even, almost all refineries have already started producing the new petrol and diesel by the end of 2019.
  • The use of BS-VI fuel will result in reduction of oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) by 25% in petrol vehicles and about 70% in diesel vehicles respectively. This will help in checking pollution in major cities like Delhi, Bengaluru where pollution levels are high.
  • Oxides of nitrogen such as Nitrogen dioxide if present in high volumes can cause respiratory ailments and lung diseases. Nitrous oxide is also responsible for damaging the ozone layer which protects the life on Earth from the harmful UV rays.

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What are BS norms?


  • Bharat Stage norms or the BS emission norms are certain regulations defined by the Government to control the level of emissions by vehicles. They tend to regulate the emission of air pollutants resulting from the burning of fuels in internal combustion engines and spark-ignition engines.
  • These rules are based on European Emission Standards, which regulate the emissions in EU  countries. The BS standards were first adopted in 2000. Then, BS-II norms were rolled out in Delhi in 2000 and subsequently in other cities till 2001. BS-III norms were introduced in 2010 and BS-IV seven years later.
  • Previous years have also seen steps such as reduction in benzene limits nationwide and reduction in lead content to the use of unleaded gasoline.
  • Such standards are adopted to prevent deterioration  of air quality by vehicular emissions mostly in metropolitan cities.

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