Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari is known to make bold, often outlandish statements, and here’s one more from the man. Mr. Gadkari has remarked that petrol will vanish from India in the next 5 years. He also added that petrol will be replaced by fuels such as ethanol, green hydrogen, electric batteries and CNG. The comments came in a speech delivered by Mr. Gadkari at Akola, Maharashtra, where he was was conferred a honorary Doctor of Science degree by Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth.
Here’s what he said at that event,
With full faith I want to say that petrol will vanish from the country after five years. Your cars and scooters will either be on green hydrogen, ethanol flex fuel, CNG or LNG.
Mr. Gadkari’s statement on petrol vanishing in the next 5 years seems slightly far fetched as the transition to other forms of energy is unlikely to happen so quickly. As things stand today, there are millions of petrol powered two wheelers and cars operating in India. And so is the case with diesel, where there are even more vehicles in the critical transport sectors. Diesel is also used in the agriculture sector.
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Unless people using petrol and diesel-engined vehicles get big incentives to switch to other fuel sources such as electricity, ethanol, green hydrogen and CNG, stiff resistance to change is likely. Moreover, a person buying a petrol or diesel vehicle pays road tax for 15 years in case of personal vehicles. It’s unfair to expect these owners to switch to other forms of energy at such short notice.
Manufacturers too, will require adequate time to shift to other forms of propulsion. Most automakers have made massive investments in the recent past, when the government mandated a transition to Bharat Stage 6 emission norms from Bharat Stage 4 norms, skipping an entire emissions cycle. Shifting away from petrol and diesel completely means that these manufacturers will have to make further investments for the big change.
Recently, Mr. Gadkari said that the price of electric vehicles will be at par with petrol and diesel vehicles within the next one year as new battery technologies dramatically reduce the cost of batteries. Currently, the biggest cost of an electric vehicle is the battery pack. A significant reduction in battery cost will reduce the cost of an electric vehicle significantly. The union transport minister has been batting for alternative fuels for the past few years as India’s reliance on expensive crude oil imports puts a big strain on India’s resources, which could otherwise be used for development projects. A clear roadmap on the Indian government’s transition plans would help all stakeholders.
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