- Environmental Imperatives
- Safety Requirements
- Competitive Pressures and
- Customer Expectations
There is a strong interlinking amongst all these forces
of change, influencing the automobile industry. These
have to be addressed consistently and strategically
to ensure competitiveness.
Since pollution is caused by various sources, it requires
an integrated, multidisciplinary approach. The different
sources of pollution have to be addressed simultaneously
in order to stall widespread damage.
- Vehicular Technology
- Fuel Quality
- Inspection & Maintenance of In-Use Vehicles
- Road and Traffic Management
While each one of the four factors mentioned above have
direct environmental implications, the vehicle and fuel
systems have to be addressed as a whole and jointly optimised
in order to achieve significant reduction in emission.
In India, the vehicle population is growing at rate
of over 5% per annum and today the vehicle population
is approximately 40 million. The vehicle mix is also
unique to India in that there is a very high proportion
of two wheelers (76%).
The significant environmental implications of vehicles
cannot be denied. The need to reduce vehicular pollution
has led to emission control through regulations in conjunction
with increasingly environment-friendly technologies.
It was only in 1991 that the first stage emission norms
came into force for petrol vehicles and in 1992 for
From April 1995 mandatory fitment of catalytic converters
in new petrol passenger cars sold in the four metros
of Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai and Chennai along with supply
of Unleaded Petrol (ULP) was affected. Availability
of ULP was further extended to 42 major cities and now
it is available throughout the country.
The emission reduction achieved from pre-89 levels
is over 85% for petrol driven and 61% for diesel vehicles
from 1991 levels.
In the year 2000 passenger cars and commercial vehicles
will be meeting Euro I equivalent India 2000 norms,
while two wheelers will be meeting one of the tightest
emission norms in the world.
Euro II equivalent Bharat Stage II norms are in force
from 2001 in 4 metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and
Since India embarked on a formal emission control regime
only in 1991, there is a gap in comparison with technologies
available in the USA or Europe. Currently, we are behind
Euro norms by few years, however, a beginning has been
made, and emission norms are being aligned with Euro
standards and vehicular technology is being accordingly
upgraded. Vehicle manufactures are also working towards
bridging the gap between Euro standards and Indian emission
In India we are yet to address the vehicle and fuel
system as a whole. It was in 1996 that the Ministry
of Environment and Forests formally notified fuel specifications.
Maximum limits for critical ingredients like Benzene
level in petrol have been specified only recently and
a limit of 5% m/m and 3% m/m has been set for petrol
in the country and metroes respectively.
In place of phase-wise upgradation of fuel specifications
there appears to be a region-wise introduction of fuels
of particular specifications. The high levels of pollution
have necessitated eliminating leaded petrol, through
out the country.
To address the high pollution in 4 metro cities 0.05%
sulphur petrol & diesel has been introduced since
2000-2001. The benzene content has been further reduced
to 1% in Delhi and Mumbai.
There is a need for a holistic approach so that upgradation
in engine technology can be optimised for maximum environmental
Other factors influencing emission from vehicles.
It has been estimated that at any point of time, new
vehicle comprise only 8% of the total vehicle population.
In India currently only transport vehicles, that is,
vehicles used for hire or reward are required to undergo
periodic fitness certification. The large population
of personalised vehicles are not yet covered by any
such mandatory requirement.
In most countries that have been able to control vehicular
pollution to a substantial extent, Inspection &
Maintenance of all categories of vehicles have been
one of the chief tools used. Developing countries in
the South East Asian region, which till a few years
back had severe air pollution problem have introduced
an I&M system and also effective traffic management.
Inadequate and poor quality of road surface leads to
increased Vehicle Operation Costs and also increased
pollution. It has been estimated that improvements in
roads will result in savings of about 15% of Vehicle
The need for an integrated, holistic approach for controlling
vehicular emission cannot be over-emphasised. More importantly,
it is time now for the auto and oil industry to come
together under the guidance of the Government in evolving
fuel quality standards and vehicular technology to meet
air quality targets.