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Why in news?

  • Even as prices of international crude have dropped to the lowest in the last 18 years since 2002, state-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) have increased the price of sensitive petroleum products like petrol and diesel in most Indian cities.
  • The Central government had announced that from April 1, 2020, all vehicles sold in India should comply with Bharat Stage-VI, or BS-VI emission standards.
  • The Supreme Court on 27th March extended the March 31, 2020 deadline for the sale and registration of BS-IV emission norm-compliant vehicles due to the lockdown.

Importance of such norms

  • Studies show that vehicles are a major source of pollutants that cause climate change.
  • Such norms help in improving emission control, fuel efficiency and engine design.
  • Cutting down on vehicular emission will also result in better air quality in cities.

Bharat stage emission standards (BSES)

  • Bharat stage emission standards (BSES) are emission standards instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from compression ignition engines and Spark-ignition engines equipment, including motor vehicles.
  • The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • The standards, based on European regulations were first introduced in 2000. Progressively stringent norms have been rolled out since then. All new vehicles manufactured after the implementation of the norms have to be compliant with the regulations.
  • While automobile manufacturers are making available vehicles that comply with the new norms, oil companies will have to provide fuel that meet these standards.
  • BS-VI standard fuel is said to be the world’s cleanest fuel.
Machine generated alternative text:
Mechanics of BS-VI 
Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) 
norms will take effect in India 
from 1 April 2020 
BS-VI is the most advanced 
emission standard for 
automobiles and is equivalent 
to Euro-VI norms 
In order to reduce 
vehicular pollution, the 
government decided to 
leapfrog from BS-IV to BS-VI 
The new norms make 
on-board diagnostics (OBD) 
mandatory for all vehicles 
The OBD unit can identify likely 
areas of malfunction by means of 
default codes stored on a computer 
For two-wheelers, manufacturers 
will introduce a fuel injection 
system—a first in India

What makes BS-VI fuel better?

Machine generated alternative text:
Diesel Vehicle 
Petrol Vehicle 
Sulphur content (part per million) 
Oxides of Nitrogen down by 68 per cent in BS VI norms 
Particulate levels down by 82 per cent in BS VI norms 
centæ for science and
  • Sulphur content in fuel is a major cause for concern. Sulphur dioxide released by fuel burning is a major pollutant that affects health as well.
  • BS-VI fuel’s sulphur content is much lower than BS-IV fuel.
  • It is reduced to 10 mg/kg max in BS-VI from 50 mg/kg under BS-IV.
  • This reduction makes it possible to equip vehicles with better catalytic converters that capture pollutants.
  • However, BS-VI fuel is expected to be costlier that BS-IV fuel.
  • Vehicles that are compliant with BS-VI will also be more expensive.
December 2023