Green activists rap govt for going easy on polluting car makers

Green activists rap govt for going easy on polluting car makers

India’s proposed fuel efficiency norms have attracted sharp criticism from environmentalists, who claim the government has given a long rope to car makers at the cost of people who face the dangers of climate change.

India is the world’s sixth largest producer of passenger cars, and is on way to having  the maximum number of cars on the road by 2050.

Since the presence of such a large number of vehicles puts a huge pressure on fuel sources and air quality, the government intends to bring in fuel efficiency standards to keep the pollution load under check.

India, so far, is the only major vehicle-producing nation in the world that has not implemented fuel efficiency norms for vehicles.

However, a complicated formula proposed to calculate these figures raised suspicion among the environmentalists about the government’s true intentions.

“The devil lies in the way you calculate these norms. In the proposed formula, the manufacturers can get away with minimal effort to improve fuel efficiency,” Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director-research and advocacy at the Centre for Science and Environment told Deccan Herald.

To be implemented from April 1, 2017, along with the Bharat Stage-4 norms, the fuel efficiency norms are more complex to enforce.

The fuel economy norms will be introduced in two phases in India – 2017-18 and 2022-23. The corporate average fuel consumption norm to be enforced this year is emission of 134 gm of carbon dioxide per km.

In 2022-23, the target will be revised to 113.1 gm per km.

In contrast, the European norm is far more stringent as it permits emission of only
95 gm of carbon dioxide per km.

“The draft rules have scope to allow entry of more diesel cars in the market. Also, there is no penal provision for the manufacturers who disobey the norms,” Anumita said.

“The government must immediately step in to address the loopholes in the draft rules. It must take away the incentive for  diesel hybrids and other inappropriate technologies, and impose stringent penalty on manufacturers for non-compliance,” she said.

While draft rules of the norms for passenger cars were released on December 22, similar norms for heavy duty vehicles will be issued on April 1.

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