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Auto LPG sector demands level playing field as air pollution takes centrestage

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New Delhi: 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.


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GM withdraws support for Trump’s emissions lawsuit against California

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President Donald Trump delivers remarks at American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, Michigan with General Motors CEO Mary Barra and other auto industry executives on March 15, 2017. 

Nicolas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

General Motors is withdrawing from litigation led by the Trump administration against California over the state’s right to set its own fuel economy and emissions regulations, distancing itself from President Donald Trump.

In a letter Monday to environmental leaders, GM CEO Mary Barra said the company’s decision to withdraw from the litigation is effective immediately. It follows President-elect Joe Biden’s Nov. 3 election, his support for electric vehicles as well as his call for unity in the country, she said.

“We believe the ambitious electrification goals of the President-elect, California, and General Motors are aligned to address climate change by drastically reducing automobile emissions,” Barra wrote.

By withdrawing, GM is showing support for the incoming administration while distancing itself from Trump, who has publicly praised and condemned automakers during his tenure as commander in chief. GM has plans for a robust portfolio of electric vehicles in the coming years.

The White House did not immediately respond for comment.

Biden is widely expected to drop the litigation against California and allow the state to set its own standards. California was allowed to do so under a 2013 waiver it received under the Clean Air Act. Other states were allowed to adopt those standards as well.

The Detroit automaker along with Fiat Chrysler, Toyota Motor and other smaller automakers initially supported Trump’s efforts in late-2019. Trump at the time was fighting to rollback the Obama administration’s national emissions standards and strip California and other states of the right to set their own vehicle emissions regulations.

Four other major automakers — Ford Motor, BMW, Honda Motor and Volkswagen — reached a deal with California in July to toughen the gas mileage and emissions standards, drawing ire from Trump.

Barra invited other automakers involved in the lawsuit to “join us” and withdraw from the litigation. Fiat Chrysler and Toyota did not immediately have a response to GM’s call to withdraw from the lawsuit.

GM’s decision comes days after the automaker announced plans to spend $27 billion on all-electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025, an increase of $7 billion, or 35%, from initial plans announced in March


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Govt plans to set up charging infrastructure across 69,000 petrol pumps

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New Delhi: The government is planning to set up at least one e-charging kiosk at around 69,000 petrol pumps across the country with an aim to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.

The Road Transport and Highways Minister while addressing a virtual conference said that the government has taken several steps to promote electric vehicles which include reduction in GST to 5 per cent, allowing delinking of battery cost of 2-3 wheelers from vehicle cost as it accounts for nearly 30 per cent of the cost etc.

“Battery charging ecosystem is very important…government is planning set up at least one electric vehicle charging kiosk at around 69 thousand petrol pumps across the country to induce people to go for electric mobility,” the minister was quoted as saying in a release. Stressing that India is poised to become a global automobile manufacturing hub in the next five years, Gadkari asked the automobile industry to push for manufacturing flex engines which have versatility to use petrol or ethanol/CNG as fuels.

“Our auto industry has made significant strides in terms of development of different designs and models, robust R&D, huge market, stable government frame-work and bright and young engineering minds. India already is the largest manufacturer of two-wheelers in the world,” he said.


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suzuki v-strom: Suzuki V-Strom 650XT BS6 launched at Rs 8.84 lakh

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NEW DELHI: Suzuki Motorcycle India on Tuesday launched the BS6 variant of V-Strom 650XT ABS at Rs 8.84 lakh (ex-showroom).
The V-Strom 650 XT ABS was showcased at 2020 Auto Expo. Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT ABS is equipped with four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC with 645-cc displacement, 90° V-twin engine.
The motorcycle has adopted the Suzuki Easy Start System enabling a secure and stress-free start with the push of a button. The middleweight adventure tourer comes with a lightweight Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) offering a controlled grip.
V-Strom 650XT’s three-mode traction control system (2 Mode + OFF Mode), ensures superior control over the engine and is effective in difficult road conditions, preventing rear wheel spin.
Koichiro Hirao, Managing Director, Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt. Ltd. said, “V-Strom has made its own following in India. The ultimate adventure tourer has proved its mettle in the highway touring capabilities while exploring different terrains. It is truly a masterpiece with the ultimate balance provided by the natural riding position, comfortable seat and the flexible engine character. This is our first BS6 compliant big bike and we are confident that this cleaner and greener motorcycle will continue to win people’s hearts with its performance and maneuverability as it hit the Indian roads”.


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