Despite being one of the cleanest and most easily accessible alternative fuels, Auto LPG remains heavily under-utilised in India because of "almost penalising" policies towards clean fuels and lack of a positive messaging by the government, Indian Auto LPG Coalition said on Friday. As poor air quality takes centrestage in the capital again, the Auto LPG sector is urging the government to provide a level playing field in the interest of the environment, it said in a statement.
Suyash Gupta, Director General of Indian Auto LPG Coalition, underscored the need to widen the policy focus beyond electric vehicles and give all available alternative fuels a level playing field in the market. "Every year at the onset of winter, we witness a resurgence of this air quality debate. Unfortunately, nothing changes and people are left to breathe hazardous air year after year.
"What is more frustrating is the fact that we have readily available and clean alternative fuels that can help us achieve a significant gain in air quality in a short span of time. Auto LPG is a readily available fuel with negligible emissions of nitrogen dioxides and PM 2.5, but indifferent messaging and penalising policies have kept it under-utilised," he said. Lack of positive messaging, absence of a prod to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for fuels like Auto LPG and prohibitive taxation on retro fitment kits as well as on Auto LPG are major challenges to its widespread adoption in India.
"Firstly, the government must stop penalising people who use cleaner fuels like LPG and CNG which it currently does by imposing 28 per cent GST on retro fitment kits and 18 per cent GST on Auto LPG sale. Secondly, it must correct its messaging that lays excessive focus on EVs and encourage OEMs to bring out Auto LPG variants," he said. While EVs may be futuristic, people of the country need more immediate term solutions for air quality.
"An improvement can be achieved faster by giving all alternative fuels a level playing field," Gupta said. He also underlined the fact that Auto LPG enjoys tremendous supply security in the current scenario and the country has sufficient import and storage infrastructure for the fuel, thanks to the capacity created by the government's Ujjawala scheme.
Notably, India consumes just 0.4 million tonnes of Autogas annually, which is just 10 per cent of South Korea's total annual auto LPG consumption. Indian Auto LPG Coalition (IAC) is the nodal body for the promotion of Auto LPG in India. Members of the Coalition include the oil sector PSUs, private auto LPG marketers, kit suppliers, and equipment manufacturers.