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India to boost ethanol production as fuel prices hit record high

India is planning to boost ethanol production in view of rising petrol and diesel prices. Union minister Nitin Gadkari said that the country is working towards the goal as people are facing a heavy financial burden due to record-high fuel prices.

nion minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said India is going to increase the production of alternative fuel ethanol as people are facing problems due to a rise in the prices of petrol and diesel.

Addressing a conference organised by BRICS Network University, virtually, Gadkari mentioned that automobile makers are producing flex-fuel engines in Brazil, Canada and the US, providing an alternative to customers to use 100 per cent petrol or 100 per cent bio-ethanol.

“Now Indian production (of ethanol) is going to increase because of the rise in petrol prices, people are facing a lot of problems,” Gadkari said while explaining that the use of ethanol is cost effective.

FUEL PRICES AT RECORD HIGH

Petrol prices in some parts of the country, including metro cities Mumbai and Hyderabad, have crossed Rs 100 per litre mark due to multiple fuel price hikes in the past six weeks.

Petrol retails at over Rs 100 per litre mark in seven states and union territories — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Ladakh. Gadkari pointed out that the ethanol price will be Rs 60-62 per litre and the petrol price is more than Rs 100 per litre.

“As far as the caloric value of ethanol is concerned, 750 ml of petrol or 800 ml is equal to 1 litre of ethanol, still there is Rs 20 saving per litre,” the road transport and highways minister said. “And it is an import substitute and cost effective, pollution-free and indigenous,” he added.

Promotion

The minister pointed out that for all racing cars, all over the world, ethanol is used as fuel. Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the target date for achieving 20 per cent ethanol-blending with petrol has been advanced by five years to 2025 to cut pollution and reduce import dependence.

The government last year had set a target of reaching 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol by 2022 and 20 per cent doping by 2030.

Currently, about 8.5 per cent of ethanol is mixed with petrol as against 1-1.5 per cent in 2014, Gadkari said, adding that ethanol procurement has risen from 38 crore litres to 320 crore litres.

INDIA’S HIGH OIL IMPORTS

Highlighting the need for a policy for import substitution, the minister said India imports Rs 8 lakh crores of crude oil, and this will rise two-folds in the next 4-5 years, which would have a huge impact on the economy. Gadkari said India’s minimum support price (MSP) for some crops is higher than international prices. That is why the government allows ethanol production from sugarcane, food grains and corn.

“We will make ethanol economy of Rs 2 lakh crore in the next five years,” he said. Ethanol extracted from sugarcane as well as damaged food grains such as wheat and broken rice and agricultural waste is less polluting and its use also provides farmers with an alternate source of income. The minister also mentioned that the government is working to support the electric vehicle (EV) industry, and American electric car major Tesla is going to enter the Indian market soon.

The government has facilitated the sale of 2-3 wheeler EVs, he said, adding that the “government is giving permission to start petrol pumps, which will also have EV charging infrastructure”.

Promotion

He also said that the indigenous battery technology will make the electric vehicle (EV) the most efficient means of transportation and the country aims to shift public transport to electricity. He also said that the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway is 60 per cent complete.

The above news was originally posted on www.indiatoday.in

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