Flex-fuel engines may take at least six months to hit India: Nitin Gadkari

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After aggressively pushing for flex-fuel engines in India in an effort to promote ethanol-based fuel to check pollution and rising fuel prices, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said that it may take longer to make it compulsory for all carmakers India.

Gadkari has been saying that the government wants vehicles with flex-fuel engines compulsory for all carmakers as an alternative to petrol and diesel cars.

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Flex-fuel, or flexible fuel, is an alternative fuel made of a combination of gasoline and methanol or ethanol.

On Wednesday, Gadkari said that it may take more than six months to implement the rule for carmakers. “We were planning to submit an affidavit in the Supreme Court to allow manufacturing of flex-fuel engines under the Euro IV emission norms…But now I feel that we will ask all vehicle manufacturers to make flex-fuel engines (that can run on more than one fuel) under the Euro VI emission norms in the next 6-8 months,” he said.

The leap from Euro IV to Euro VI emission norm is similar to what the government did with internal combustion engines back in 2016. Back then, an inter-ministerial group headed by Nitin Gadkari had decided to implement Bharat Stage 6 (BS 6) norm, which is equivalent of Euro VI norms) by skipping the Euro V emission norms.

The need to move to flexible or alternate fuel has been necessitated by rising fuel costs as well as vehicular pollution. Gadkari has often stressed the need to switch to indigenous fuel, which also include hydrogen, to reduce dependency on costly oil imports.

(Also read: Petrol, diesel prices hiked for second straight day)

The Centre recently issued a draft notification on ethanol blending in petrol. It proposes 12% and 15% ethanol blending in petrol as automotive fuels, which will be available as E-12 and E-15 respectively. The notification came weeks within Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of advancing the deadline for 20% ethanol blending by 2025 from 2030.

Gadkari has also pointed out that countries like Brazil, Canada and the United States already have automobile companies that manufacturer flex-fuel engine vehicles. He also pointed out that ethanol is much cheaper than petrol and diesel.

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