Latest Car News in India

Friday, February 14, 2014

By John Andrew

New mileage norms mandatory for passenger vehicles

India has notified new norms for passenger vehicles that mandate an average increase of at least 14% in mileage from 2016-17 and 38% five years thereafter. The standards, which will be implemented by the ministry of road transport and highways, will catapult India into the league of select nations including the United States, Germany, Japan and China that strictly enforce such norms with harsh penalties for violation. Passenger vehicles - comprising cars, vans and utility vehicles - currently run for about 16 km on a litre of fuel. The mandated average under the new norms is 18.2 km by 2016-17 and 22 km by 2021-22. 
 
If implemented, the new norms will result in a saving of about 20 million tonnes of fuel by 2025, said Ajay Mathur, director general of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), the nodal agency for the norms. This, according to an estimate by experts, will spell a windfall gain of about 90,000 crore every year after the norms are implemented until 2025. "It is a policy direction of the government that would lead to improvement in fuel efficiency over a period of time. Even as the cars are getting heavier, the policy intervention would lead to higher mileage of vehicles and lend direct benefits to consumers," Mathur said. 
 
The new norms, notified as 'Corporate Average Fuel Consumption' (CAFC) standards, will be mandatory for the entire automobile industry and cover all auto fuels including petrol, diesel and gas. The standards, which will also apply to all imported vehicles, stipulate the consumption of fuel on the basis of total vehicles manufactured and not models of cars. Fuel consumption will be calculated on the basis of the vehicle's weight. About eight different weight categories have been proposed. 
 
The BEE, which has notified the standards, has also proposed to do a star-based labeling similar to power-saving electronic appliances, reflecting the efficiency levels of vehicles. Car models will be ranked on a scale of one to five stars based on their fuel efficiency, according to a person familiar with the matter. 
 
Reacting to the notification, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the apex body of Indian automobile industry, said it would be difficult for said it would be difficult for manufacturers to gear up to the new norms that will entail huge investments. 
 
"The industry will need time to implement the norms. We were expecting that these standards would come in force from 2017-18. The reduction by a year in the notification will force cost escalations to meet such stiff targets," said a senior SIAM functionary, requesting anonymity. Industry experts say the targets are too unrealistic to be achieved and higher fuel efficiency will necessitate a trade-off with cost and safety in Indian vehicles that already fail to meet crash tests and other safety norms. 
 

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