Use of 10 per cent ethanol-blended petrol has led to a saving of over Rs 41,000 crore in the foreign exchange for the country, minister of state for environment, forest and climate change Ashwini Kumar Choubey said on Wednesday. Speaking at an online event of auto industry body SIAM on sustainable mobility, the minister said the government is working in multiple ways to encourage sustainable mobility.
“India recently achieved 10 per cent ethanol blending target 5 months in advance, saving over Rs 41,000 crore worth of fuel imports for the nation,” Choubey noted. The initiative has led to sizable benefits for farmers, he added.
“Our next target is to achieve 20 per cent ethanol blending and it is projected to be completed by 2025-26,” Choubey noted. This is a great step towards reducing the country’s fuel imports and carbon emissions, he added.
India has achieved the target of supplying 10 per cent ethanol-blended petrol five months ahead of schedule in June and is aiming to double the blend by 2025-26 in order to cut oil import dependence and address environmental issues. The original target for doping 10 per cent ethanol, extracted from sugarcane and other agri commodities, in petrol was November 2023 but this has been achieved in June.
While earlier fuel-grade ethanol was produced only from sugarcane, since 2018 alternate routes such as sugarcane juice, sugar and sugar syrup, heavy molasses, damaged foodgrains unfit for human consumption, surplus rice and maize, were opened up. As the availability of ethanol increases, the equivalent amount of crude (used for petrol production) import is reduced.
Choubey said the PM Gati Shakti – National Master Plan is also playing an important role in environment conservation. He also noted that the adoption of electric vehicles is going up and would be very beneficial for the country in the long run.
Earlier speaking at the event, SIAM Sustainable Mobility Group Chairman and MD Cummins India Ashwath Ram said the Indian automotive industry is ramping up to meet the revised target of 2025 to have E20 compatible vehicles. “Flex fuel vehicles are being developed in parallel and are in line with the estimated plan… it is a decade of decarbonisation and decarbonising fuel blends demand a commitment from both the government and as well as from the industry,” he stated.
Ministry of petroleum and natural gas joint secretary (refinery) Sunil Kumar said he is confident that 20 per cent ethanol blending in gasoline would be achieved by 2025-26. “We aim to achieve these plans uniformly across the country in the targeted years. With the efforts made by the government the existing installed ethanol distilleries have reached around 700 crore litres and likely to reach more than 1,200 crore litres for 20 per cent blending by 2025-26,” he noted.
Maruti Suzuki India CTO CV Raman said the target of 20 per cent ethanol blending by 2025 would lead to reduction in oil imports while incentivising farmers and reducing emissions.