Union Minister Nitin Gadkari recently said India will make it mandatory for auto manufacturers to offer vehicles running 100 per cent on bio-fuels in the next six months. Such a move will be cost-effective for consumers, who are hassled by the high petrol prices, the minister said, pointing out that a litre of bioethanol costs ₹ 65 as against ₹ 110 paid for petrol. The alternative fuel is also less polluting and saves forex.

“We are committed to delivering vehicles with flex engine norms. We have taken a decision, we will make it mandatory by which there will be a flex-engine,” Mr Gadkari said at an event hosted by domestic brokerage Elara Capital.

“Within six months, we will give orders for making flex engines (mandatory),” he said, adding that state-run oil marketing companies have already been ordered to offer bio-fuels at the same facilities as the one selling petrol and diesel.

The minister said consumers will have a choice between petrol and bioethanol and a switch to the alternative is also essential for the country because of the surplus production of crops like rice, maize, corn and sugar, from which bioethanol is made.

He added that in many of the crops, the minimum support price offered to the farmers is higher than the commercial price or the one in international prices, making it essential for diverting the harvest for the overall betterment of the country.

Mr Gadkari said manufacturing of electronic vehicles is also on at a fast pace across categories and estimated that there will be a flood of such automobiles on the roads in a year.

He also said that in the next five years, he wants India to be the leading auto manufacturing hub in the world offering vehicles with all the fuels for the world. The recently launched vehicle scrappage policy will help in sourcing of raw materials, he said.

Efforts are also underway on using hydrogen as a fuel, and to tap the gas from sea water and sewage water, Mr Gadkari said, without sharing specifics.

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