Undo the effect of Fuel Price Hike: A case for fuel efficiency
Frustrated with everyday rigors of Fuel price rise? Well, we may not be able to keep hold of the demand-supply mechanics of fuel but we do have an option to increase levels of fuel efficiency both at micro and macro level. As a nation we do not have any comprehensive policy to have standards set or to keep a keen watch on the same. On the other hand US, Japan and EU have strict fuel economy standards in place.
A report prepared by Dr. B. P. Pundir of IIT Kanpur underlines various cases where India has failed miserably in achieving world standards for fuel efficiency such as nearly 70% of Gasoline cars use 4 valves/cylinders, while only 30% of diesel cars use 4-valves, 81% of passenger cars already employ FWD which results in better fuel economy. No car yet however, uses CVT, Other technologies like idle stop-start, integrated starter- generator etc. are not yet implemented on Indian vehicles, the GDI engines and HEVs are still to make presence in the Indian passenger vehicles.
This trend must be reversed if not to match up world’s standard but to at least for our own sake of saving fuel, hence saving our pocket! The rate at which number of private cars are increasing is mind boggling, it has slowed down only recently but still raises serious concern. We hardly have any place for hybrid cars which are some 30-50% more fuel efficient than those run by petrol or diesel. There’s no R&D in place for the same, well R&D is in pitiable condition elsewhere too in India. Even if we think of importing them, the prices would hardly be anywhere for even high-middle class person to buy!
Coming to our public transport systems- Railways-the lifeline of the country too performs badly in terms of fuel economy. How about our public buses and lorries? I don’t really need to tell about them- they are way behind any standards both ecologically and fuel efficiency wise. But definitely we need to improvise our public transport system to save our future in every possible way; be it comforts levels, frequency, fuel economy, carbon-footprint etc.
Again quoting from Prof Pundhir’s work, the Japanese fuel economy standards were first established for gasoline and diesel powered light-duty passenger and commercial vehicles in 1999. The main cause of making the standards effective is a strong disincentive for the customers in the form of progressively higher taxes levied based on the gross vehicle weight and engine displacement of automobiles when purchased and registered. Another interesting fact you would want to know, while we keep lamenting over that we import 70% of our oil requirements, it’s nearly 90% for Japan, but it has found a way out with fuel efficiency and their continuous research and innovation in hybrid fuel vehicles.
Poor functioning of monitoring authorities puts up a similar condition with respect to the usage of fuel in industries. When it comes to diesel we speak about its immense significance in agriculture, and consequently the case for continuing subsidy and government control is vouched for- have we really thought upon how efficient those diesel pumps are? And why in a tropical country we can’t have solar-powered pumps at least? Questions are many. It’s not that we don’t have an answer. Just that bit of political will and awareness will do it.