India is set to introduce new fuel efficiency standards this month to force auto companies to produce cars that give you more km for every litre of fuel.
The standard called Corporate Average Fuel Economy (Cafe) will give auto manufacturers time till 2015 to improve fuel efficiency of cars by about 18%, up from the average of 14.1 km a litre of petrol to 17.3 km a litre. With it, cars will have one to five star labels depending on their fuel efficiency.
The Cafe 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 Cafe will be notified in May," a road transport ministry official told HT. The draft standard will be CO2 emission of 135 gm per km for entire fleet in 2015. In 2010, the average CO2 emission was 165 gm per km.
It will mean fleet fuel efficiency will improve from 14.1 km a litre to 17.3 km a litre for petrol cars and from 15.5 km a litre to 19.9 km a litre for diesel cars. The draft also provides for further improvement by 2020.
The standard will ensure fuel efficient, lighter cars, use of biofuels and hybrid technologies such as electricity and hydrogen cells, say experts. BMW has already decided to start producing vehicles from 2013 to have fuel efficiency of 26 kms a litre.
Other carmakers including Maruti and Hyundai have assured compliance.
Vishnu Mathur, director general Society of Automobile Manufacturers hopes the norms are '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 (Bee), which worked out the norms with the road transport ministry. Penalty could be mandatory phasing out of fuel guzzling vehicles or a fine.
But environmental NGOs want stricter norms. "We should aim for European standard of 110 gm per km of CO2 emission by 2020, against the draft standard of 128 gm per km," said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, associate director with the Centre for Science and Environment.