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Focus on Promoting LPG Cars, Defer Plans for Electric Vehicles: Auto Body on COVID-19 Impact

Image for Representation

Image for Representation (Reuters)

The Indian Auto LPG Coalition said that the government must adopt alternative fuels such as Auto LPG to immediately address environmental concerns.

With COVID-19 pandemic further accentuating the automotive industry's woes, the government must consider deferring its singularly focussed electric vehicle pursuit and allow automakers to nurse themselves back to health, said an association for the promotion of Auto LPG in India.

The government must instead focus on promoting readily available clean alternative fuels such as Auto LPG to immediately address environmental concerns, Indian Auto LPG Coalition said in a statement here.

Indian Auto LPG Coalition, which has been highlighting the environmental benefits of transport fuel Auto LPG, stated that pushing the automobile sector singularly on shifting to the Electric Vehicle space particularly in the current situation will spell further doom for the sector.

"The government had set very ambitious targets for a substantial shift to Electric Vehicles by 2030. However, the automobile sector that was already struggling to clear its BS-IV inventories is bound to face even more challenging times in the post COVID world.

"In this situation, continuing to push this major technology shift on the sector will not allow it any breathing space. It is vital that the government must, therefore, relax its EV push and promote more easily deployable alternative fuels like Auto LPG to address environmental concerns," said Suyash Gupta, Director General, Indian Auto LPG Coalition.

As all economic activity and transportation came to a halt, significant improvement in air quality has been witnessed in almost all Indian cities over the past few weeks.

India has also switched to the Supreme Court mandated BS-VI norms during the lockdown even as automobile manufacturers were yet to clear their BS-IV inventory.

"Lockdown has given us a good context of what reducing the usage of petrol and diesel can do for air quality. In the post COVID era, the Government needs to balance air quality goals together with an eye on the fiscal good health of the OEMs.

"Adopting clean alternative fuels like Auto LPG and shifting a substantial part of personal and public vehicles to this fuel can have significant benefits for the environment. The Electric Vehicle push can continue minus the hot pursuit," Gupta said.

Auto LPG has a proven track record in improving air quality across the world and it is a low hanging fruit as it can be easily and quickly deployed, the association said, adding it is amongst the cleanest alternative fuels with a Global Warming Potential of 'zero'.

The emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) and harmful particulate matter PM 2.5 are almost negligible for Auto LPG. This makes it a much cleaner fuel as compared to even BS-VI compliant petrol, the association said.

To achieve a faster conversion to Auto LPG, the government must introduce some favourable policies, it said.

"These include reduction of GST rates on the fuel (18 per cent currently) as well as on Auto LPG/CNG conversion kits (prohibitive 28 per cent currently) immediately. Another critical intervention required is the reform of the Type Approval norms governing conversion to gaseous fuels. This will allow even existing old vehicles currently adhering to BS-IV norms to convert to cleaner Auto LPG," the statement added.