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Q. Usage ethanol blended petrol: Discuss the issues related to implementation of ethanol blended petrol.
Aug 25, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-3

Ans :

Introduction-

Central government is planning to introduce ethanol blended petrol over the time. Government wants to blend 10% to 22.5% of ethanol with petrol. As India is heavily dependent on import of crude oil, in this background government plan is laudable, but there are issues in its implementation.

How ethanol blended petrol helps?

  • India has spent over ₹4 lakh crore to import 202 million tonnes of crude oil in 2015-16 and the International Energy Agency has projected that India’s crude oil imports would rise to 550 million tonnes by 2040.
  • Ethanol, which is a by-product of crushing sugarcane, is sought by potable as well as industrial alcohol manufacturers, pushing up demand. Using of ethanol in petrol can reduce import and cost of petrol to some extent.

Issues associated with ethanol blending-

  • Decade long effort of pushing for 5%blending of petrol with ethanol have yielded success recently, that too only about 3-4%
  • Usage of ethanol is not uniform across the country simply because States such as Tamil Nadu do not allow sale of ethanol for blending with petrol.
  • Similarly oil companies and ethanol suppliers have been squabbling over its price, which led to delay in blending of ethanol.
  • The price of petrol at the refinery gate is less than half that of ethanol today. This leads to an increase in the retail price of petrol at lease for short run.
  • Similarly the calorific value of ethanol is about a third less than petrol which means that blending of 10% or above will lead to a decrease in the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

Issues related to its implementation-

  • Two-wheelers, which account for three-fourths of the petrol consumed, cannot run on 10% blended fuel without a change in their fuel systems. Similarly older cars already on the roads which are built for either 5% or less blended fuel.
  • With the corrosive property of 10% blended fuel being high, car manufacturers have to carry out modifications in their engine designs for the newer models.
  • In the transition period, we may have to look at a system where retail outlets have separate dispensers for normal and 10 per cent blended petrol so that consumers can tank up appropriately.

Suggestions-

  • To implement ethanol blended petrol there is need for overhaul of storage and transport systems for fuels not just at the retail outlets but also at the depots.
  • Similarly there has to be a uniform policy for blending across the country without any State being an outlier as that will cause logistical difficulties for both consumers and the oil companies.
  • Consistent and adequate supply of ethanol has also to be ensured before the system is enforced. Its availability cannot be hostage to the sugar price cycle.

Conclusion-

India is heavily dependent on its energy requirement,hence propose move to implement ethanol blended petrol is welcome move. But it comes with various issues in its implementation, hence those needs to be addressed. Hence government should adopt a considered and holistic approach while implementing ethanol blended petrol.


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