UPSC MAINS 2019 : Delhi becomes first city to roll-out Euro VI fuel

Topic : Delhi becomes first city to roll-out Euro VI fuel

Topic in Syllabus: General Studies Paper 3: Ecology and Environment



With an aim to combat the rising levels of air pollution in Delhi-NCR region, petrol pumps in the capital recently started supplying ultra-clean Bharat Stage VI grade fuel (both petrol and diesel).


More about on news:

  • This move makes New Delhi the first city in the country to switch from BS-IV grade fuels to BS-VI (equivalent to fuel meeting Euro-VI emission norms).
  • Other cities like Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram and Faridabad along with 13 major cities, including Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune, will also switch over to cleaner BS-VI grade fuel from January 1 next year.
  • BS- VI fuel will be rolled out in rest of the country by April 2020.


What are BS norms?

  • Bharat Stage emission standards, introduced in 2000, are emission standards that have been set up the Central government to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles.
  • The different norms are brought into force in accordance with the timeline and standards set up by the Central Pollution Control Board which comes under the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change.


The Bharat Stage norms are based on European regulations:

  • Euro norms define the maximum limit of pollutant that a vehicle can emit. (CO2, nitrogen oxide, sulfur and suspended particulate matter)
  • If vehicle emits more than this limit, it cannot be sold in Europe.
  • In India, we follow Euro norms under the label “Bharat stage” norms.


Difference between BS-IV and the new BS-VI:

  • The major difference in standards between the existing BS-IV and the new BS-VI auto fuel norms is the presence of sulphur.
  • The newly introduced fuel is estimated to reduce the amount of sulphur released by 80 per cent, from 50 parts per million to 10 ppm.
  • As per the analysts, the emission of NOx (nitrogen oxides) from diesel cars is also expected to reduce by nearly 70 per cent and 25 per cent from cars with petrol engines.
  • The introduction of higher grade fuel will be beneficial only if it is done in tandem with the roll-out of BS-VI compliant vehicles.
  • Using BS-VI fuel in the current BS-IV engines or, conversely, running BS-VI engines on the current-grade fuel, may be ineffective in curbing vehicular pollution, and may damage the engine in the long run.


Deadline for rest of the country:

  • It was decided in 2015 that the country will switch from BS-IV grade fuel to BS-VI grade fuel by April 2020.
  • While the deadline stands for the rest of the country, in Delhi the authorities were compelled to advance the introduction of a cleaner fuel looking at the deteriorating conditions of the air quality.
  • The decision was taken by the Petroleum Ministry on November last year, where it stated that BS-VI grade auto fuels would be dispensed with effect from April 1, 2018 instead of the scheduled April 1, 2020.
  • The ministry had then said the advancement was part of the government’s “concerted efforts to reduce vehicular emissions and improve fuel efficiency with an aim to reduce the carbon footprints and keep a healthy environment.”


What happened to BS-V?

  • According to an earlier road map by the government, BS-V emission norms were to come into effect by 2020-21, while BS-VI was to be implemented 2024 onwards.
  • The drastic increase in air pollution levels, particularly in the Delhi-NCR region, the government decided to leapfrog BS-V, while also advancing the introduction of BS-VI emission norms to 2020.
  • The implementation of BS-VI norms will bring Indian emission regulations almost on a par with EU regulations.


Who gets impacted, and how?

  • The Supreme Court order impacts both the industry and consumers.
  • For the industry, the decision brings clarity on the timelines for sale.
  • The government had earlier proposed a grace period of three months for manufacturers to sell BS-IV compliant passenger vehicles and six months for buses and trucks that may remain unsold with the dealer or manufacturer post April 1, 2020.
  • The industry had also argued in court that since they were allowed to manufacture BS-IV vehicles till March 31, 2020, they should be granted reasonable time to sell that stock.
  • An industry expert pointed out that manufacturers will need to start manufacturing BS-VI complaint vehicles by February 2020, while phasing out BS-IV compliant vehicles.
  • The industry has pointed out that this advancement will lead to shorter time for vehicle-testing and validation.
  • The customers will get access to better technology and hopefully better air. However, BS-VI compliant vehicles will be more expensive.
  • According to research agency ICRA, the price of diesel cars is expected to go up by about Rs. 75,000 compared to an increase of about Rs. 20,000 for petrol cars.
  • The BS-VI fuel is also expected to cost more.



  • Upgrading to stricter fuel standards helps tackle air pollution.
  • Global automakers are betting big on India as vehicle penetration is still low here, when compared to developed countries. At the same time, cities such as Delhi are already being listed among those with the poorest air quality in the world.
  • The national capital’s recent odd-even car experiment and judicial activism against the registration of big diesel cars shows that governments can no longer afford to relax on this front.
  • With other developing countries such as China having already upgraded to the equivalent of Euro V emission norms a while ago, India has been lagging behind.


Sample Question:

Explain the Difference between BS-IV and the new BS-VI and discuss the why the government skipping BS-V?