Fuel-efficiency norms in 2 yrs, says Jairam

New schedule comes despite PMO directive to quickly enforce the standards


Ramesh gave the new time frame while addressing a meeting of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers here on Thursday.

The fresh schedule comes despite a clear directive from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to quickly enforce the mandatory fuel-economy standards—developed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).

The BEE was to develop fuel-economy standards for cars under the Energy Conservation Act, while the Union Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways was the enforcing authority. As things got delayed, the PMO sent a reminder in June. Ramesh said pollution through transport was around 10-15 per cent at the moment, and that it would increase to 20-30 per cent in the next 10-15 years. The government was preparing the mandatory fuel-efficiency standards for all types of vehicles, he added.

The booming automobile industry lobbied against the standards, while the green activists campaigned for it, arguing that cars, one of the biggest polluters, received tax concessions without any official certification on their mileage. Better fuel economy means more environment-friendly cars, which save some amount of carbon dioxide emissions.
“The commitment to set these standards under the National Climate Action Plan and the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat has been swept under the carpet,” said Anumita Roychowdhury of the Centre for Science and Environment here. Incidentally, the breather to the auto sector comes within a week of the prime minister’s in-principle sanction for a national mission for increasing energy efficiency. Following pressure from BEE for implementing the standards, the auto industry stated it would voluntarily declare its fuel-economy standards.

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