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India to introduce new fuel efficiency standards

The country is set to introduce new fuel efficiency standards in April to force auto companies to produce cars that give you more kms for every litre of fuel. Chetan Chauhan, Moushumi Das Gupta & Sumant Banerjee report.

business Updated: May 04, 2011 21:43 IST

The country is set to introduce new fuel efficiency standards in April to force auto companies to produce cars that give you more kms for every litre of fuel.

The standard called Corporate Average Fuel Economy (Cafe) will give auto manufacturers time till 2015 to improve raise fuel efficiency of cars by about 18%, up from the average of 14.1 km/litre of petrol to 17.3. With it, cars will have one to five star labels depending on their fuel efficiency.

The Café standard is the average annual fuel efficiency for a manufacturer’s fleet and is measured in terms of global warming causing carbon dioxide emissions.

The draft fuel efficiency standard based on CAFÉ will be notified in May, a Road Transport ministry official told HT. The draft standard will be CO2 emission of 135 gm/km for entire fleet in 2015. In 2010, the average CO2 emission was 165 gm/km.

It will mean fleet fuel efficiency to improve from 14.1 km/litre to 17.3 for petrol cars and from 15.5 km/litre to 19.9 km/litre for diesel cars. The draft also provides for further improvement by 2020 (read graphic).

The standard will ensure fuel efficient and lighter cars and use biofuels and hybrid technologies such as electricity and hydrogen cells, say auto experts. BMW has already decided to start producing vehicles from 2013 to have fuel efficiency of 26 kms per litre. Other carmakers including Maruti and Hyundai also assured to comply with the norm.

Vishnu Mathur, director general of Society of Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) hoped the norms were practical and rational and said the regulation will aid competition in fuel efficient vehicles.

Auto companies not meeting the norm will have to pay a penalty said an official of Bureau of Energy Efficiency, which worked out the norms with the Road Transport ministry. Penalty could be mandatory phasing out of fuel guzzling vehicles or a fine.

Environmental NGOs want stricter norms. We should aim for European standard of 110 gm/km of CO2 emission by 2020, as against the draft standard of 128 gm/km said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, associate director with the Centre for Science and Environment.

With less polluting vehicles, Ajay Mathur, BEE Director General of BEE said the cars will also have fuel efficiency based star labels, similar to the one for refrigerators and washing machines. The labels will be for a category of vehicles such as small, medium and big cars.

In India, average car sale witnessed an increase of about 30% in 2010-11, meaning 25.20 lakh cars. Of them, 18 % were fuel guzzling Sports Utility and Multi-Purpose vehicles.

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