1 December 1998

According to press reports, the Delhi state government has been considering a ban on sales of diesel cars in the India capital to bring down emission levels. This move is opposed by the Association of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM).

AIAM said the government role should be to stipulate stringent emission regulations and provide requisite high quality fuels. The route to achieve the emission standards should be left to the industry. AIAM also said that pollution in Delhi was caused by a lack of adequate public transport, as well as inadequate traffic planning causing traffic jams and concentration of pollution.

AIAM estimated that 30,000 diesel cars were sold in India in 1997/98 (April-March) out of a total of 401,0022 cars. Even though only 8% of the diesel cars produced were sold in Delhi, AIAM fears that if one state government banned diesel cars, many others would follow suit.

Indian car manufacturers have been investing heavily in dieselisation programs. The diesel fuel is sold at subsidised rates in India to power the transport sector. A liter of gasoline normally costs 2.5 times more than a liter of diesel fuel.

AIAM said it had proposed several joint initiatives with the government to ensure better fuel quality and better emission inspection for diesel vehicles.

Source: Reuters