India’s capital city, Delhi has become the first Indian city to adopt Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) fuels – which means, most of the fuel stations in the city are now serving cleaner fuel already, ahead of its scheduled launch on April 1.

If you are in Delhi and felt like your car or bike is running a tad bit smoother lately, it is because petrol pumps have started providing cleaner fuel, as per the Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) standards – ahead of scheduled launch on April 1. Surprisingly enough, the system has been adopted quietly and most motorists in the city are unaware about it. State-run fuel retailers have been pushing cleaner petrol and diesel – similar to, but not exactly the same, as EuroVI fuels since February to flush supply pipelines and tanks at petrol pumps. And finally, almost all of the 397 petrol pumps in Delhi have implemented the BS-VI fuels.

This makes Delhi the first city in India to run on BS-VI fuels, two years ahead of the 2020 deadline the Centre had set for rolling out cleaner fuels across the country. The quick implementation was made after the environmental massacre in November when smoke from burning of crop stubble by farmers in neighbouring states choked the capital. Yet, the blame was put on vehicular emissions, especially from ill-maintained commercial vehicles with old engines crowding the city. So amid the outcry over the capital’s poor air quality, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan stepped in by ordering state-run fuel retailers to supply BS-VI fuels in Delhi from April 1, 2018 and examine introducing these fuels in NCR by April 2019.

Reacting spontaneously to the orders, fuel retailers had been pushing the implementation since November last year, with claims that BS-VI fuels will have “better” emission than vehicles running on CNG. However, it is necessary to note that introducing BS-VI fuels without the vehicles tuned for such fuels will only yield partial benefit since these will be used by vehicles with BS-IV or BSIII engines plying on Delhi’s roads. As of now, only Mercedes sells BS-VI cars, while the certification process is on for other auto manufacturers (proud Merc owner?). Following the instantaneous implementation, the Supreme Court is wondering why more cities cannot follow suit, so do we.

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