By NATALIE OBIKO PEARSON and DEBJIT CHAKRABORTY
India should impose a tax on fuel sales to fund refinery
upgrades for cleaner
fuels so that vehicles can eliminate cancer-causing particle
, a government panel
The government could levy an extra tariff of 0.75 rupee/liter
on gasoline and diesel sales over seven years to collect 640
billion rupees ($10.7 billion) to finance the upgrades, the
committee recommended in a
report posted on the oil ministrys website.
Without the extra money, state-run refiners such as India
n Oil wont be able to
supply fuels of the same quality sold in Europe
until April 2025, the panel
said. That would lag behind emission norms in developing
nations, including Vietnam, Brazil and Chile.
suffers from some of the
worlds deadliest air pollution. Vehicles cant
install the necessary equipment to scrub their exhaust of
lethal particles, known as PM2.5, until the nation switches
to the equivalent of Euro-5 fuel.
Meeting a more ambitious target to roll out Euro-5 equivalent
fuel by April 2020 would require imposing the tax starting
next month, according to the report.
The recommendations come 18 months after the panel was formed
under the previous government. They need to be accepted by
Prime Minister Narendra Modis administration, which
took office on May 26, to take effect.
The World Health Organization identifies PM2.5 as one of the
most dangerous among air pollutants that cause more deaths
worldwide than AIDS, diabetes and road injuries combined.
In India, PM2.5 emissions
are emitted by diesel
vehicles, whose tailpipe exhaust can carry 10 times the
carcinogenic particles found in gasoline discharges. Diesel
car sales in India
are surging because the
subsidized fuel is 20% cheaper than gasoline and more
efficient on a per-kilometer basis.