Can’t afford to ban vehicles run on fossil fuel: Dharmendra Pradhan
Government has no plans to ban the sale of fossil fuel-driven vehicles as India cannot afford to do so.
This would come as a respite to automakers and oil companies that are opposed to any move to ban fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Pradhan’s statement also reflects the lack of consensus between different arms of the government on promoting EVs and the ways to deal with the pollution emergency that several Indian cities today face.
“There is no ban. India cannot afford to do that,” Pradhan said, responding to whether the government is considering a ban on the new sale of fossil fuel vehicles in order to promote electric vehicles. India is heavily dependent on fossil fuels and would find it hard to manage without these, he said.
“Niti Aayog or any other arm of the government has never said they would ban the sale of fossil fuel vehicles,” Pradhan said. “With full responsibility I’m saying that, as per my understanding, EV is our priority, but so is piped natural gas, compressed natural gas and BS-VI fuel.”
A Niti Aayog-led panel has reportedly proposed permitting the sale of only electric three-wheelers from April 2023, electric twowheelers below 150cc from April 2025, and electric cars for commercial use from April 2026. Automakers have opposed this, saying such timelines are impractical and would cause hardship to the industry that’s already seeing deceleration in sales.
A phaseout of fossil fuel vehicles can also deeply hurt oil companies that are planning to spend billions of dollars in expanding their refinery, fuel stations and city gas network.
“The government wants to promote electric vehicle. It is very much focused to develop city gas network and to diversify its energy basket,” Pradhan said, adding that conventional, renewable, biofuel and EVs will together help fulfil India’s energy needs in future.
The oil ministry has asked GAIL to separate its transportation and marketing business and the company is working on that, Pradhan said, without specifying if the transportation business will become a separate entity or will stay as the subsidiary of the state-run firm.
Winners of the second and third round of Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP) signed revenue-sharing contracts with the government on Tuesday. Oil India, ONGC, Vedanta, Indian Oil and RIL-BP have won blocks in the two rounds. Exploration contracts were signed for 32 blocks covering nearly 60,000 sq km.