Curtailing Automobile Fuel Consumption

One of the most visible industries in India, after liberalization of the economy, is the automobile industry. The industry is expanding the already large capacities of two-wheelers, three wheelers and four wheelers. Yet, there is shortage of petrol/diesel in many places on many occasions and crude oil availability may not see much increase in in the future. Though crude oil has been discovered in a few places in India and exploration of these new finds may ease the fuel crunch (to a small extent), India may continue to need to import about 60-80% of its fuel requirement. As the global availability of crude oil becomes uncertain, the government should take policy decisions to curtail fuel (petrol and diesel) consumption. Some of the measures that could be taken are:

  1. In all places – small towns to big cities, two-wheeler taxis should be introduced as in Thailand and Vietnam to minimize the high fuel consumption of three- and four-wheels taxis
  2. Automobile manufacturers should be encouraged to limit the capacity for petrol run vehicles and increase the capacity for diesel vehicles as diesel vehicles give higher mileage, thus reducing consumption of petrol
  3. Public transport vehicles such as buses should be reconfigured to make space for luggage by removing 2 or 3 rows of seats. This will make a large number of passengers avoid taxis, auto rickshaws and mini trucks
  4. Government should also encourage production of vehicles which run on natural gas/LPG
  5. To minimize consumption of LPG for cooking and diverting the same for the automobiles, an alternate fuel for cooking should be marketed in large quantities. Compressing and bottling bio-gas should be encouraged by offering reasonable subsidies to new ventures in this field. This will be new industry in India
  6. Some subsidies could be extended to electric bicycle/scooter/car manufacturers so that these customers move towards these vehicles
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