Union Minister of Road and Transport, Nitin Gadkari has made the case for Flex-Fuel on numerous occasions. Just last month, Gadkari said that the Ministry has plans to mandate Flex-Fuel engines as an alternative to gasoline engines. He said that India’s fuel imports are rising at an exponential rate and the use of Flex-Fuel engines and a blend of ethanol and petrol as fuel could bring down this cost. Most recently, the ministry has released an advisory to all manufacturers and has urged them to make Flex-Fuel engines.
Nitin Gadkari at an event in Ghaziabad, said, “Yesterday I signed an advisory, urging the carmakers to manufacture flex-fuel engines. We have asked them to start this production in the next six months so that vehicles can run on more than one fuel,” he added, “The new vehicles will have the option to run on 100 percent ethanol, which is produced by our farmers,”.
A Closer look at the Situation
In November, he had said that some carmakers like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, and Toyota have guaranteed that they will bring out engines that can run on more than one fuel. This time again he said that the ministry shall not be mandating manufacturers, but seeing three major brands on the field the competition should drive more and more carmakers to join flex-fuel.
Although the ministry has given a time of 6 months, to develop this technology, in reality, it takes close to a year to make road-ready vehicles. But brands like Maruti Suzuki have shown their interest in flex-fuel quite some time back, and it could be that flex-fuel engines reel out into the market sooner than we think. This advisory by our government is part of a long-term plan which aims at increasing the Ethanol blend in the fuel we use. The fuel being used in India in the present day is E10. This means that we get a 10 percent blend of Ethanol in our fuel. The government aims at introducing E20 fuel by 2023. Moreover, as Flex-Fuel engines can run on 100 percent ethanol, the final aim is to make more and more use of pure ethanol. This is aimed to reduce fuel import costs as bioethanol can be produced from ingredients like cane sugar and corn, and it will also reduce CO2 emissions.
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