The government will extend supply of Euro-IV grade petrol and diesel to 50 more cities by March next year in an attempt to cut vehicular pollution in major towns.
Presently, Euro-IV or Bharat Stage-IV petrol and diesel are being supplied in 26 cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.
Ultra-low sulphur petrol and diesel, meeting Euro-IV emission norms, began selling in 13 cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Kanpur, Agra, Pune, Surat, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Sholapur from April 1, 2010.
In rest of the country, Euro-III or BS-III grade fuel was being supplied.
Since then the supply of Euro-IV grade fuel has been 13 more cities. Now the Oil Ministry has decided "to go beyond Auto Fuel Policy recommendation and to expand BS-IV auto fuels to 50 more cities by March 2015 with preference to most polluted cities, state capitals and cities with million plus population," a ministry order said.
The Ministry has constituted a committee under Additional Director, Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) for identifying these cities, it said.
After the launch in April 2010, Euro-VI fuel supply was expanded to seven cities of Puducherry, Mathura, Vapi, Jamnagar, Ankleshwar, Hissar and Bharatpur in 2011-12.
In the following year, 10 more cities were added Silvasa, Daman, Diu, Aligarh, Rae Bareilly, Unnao, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Yamunagar and Valsad. Three more cities of Medak, Nizamabad and Mehbub Nagar were added on July 5, 2013.
In January this year, Euro-IV fuel supply was started in Vrindavan, Kosi Kalan, Hindaun city, Dholpur, Ahmednagar and Mahabaleshwer.
Official sources said oil companies will have to invest Rs 35,000 crore (Rs 350 billion) in upgrading their refineries so that they can produce lesser polluting Euro-IV and higher grade fuels.
Oil firms had previously invested Rs 30,000 crore (Rs 300 billion) when they began supply of Euro-II and III grade fuel in 2005.
Supply of Euro-IV grade fuel would mean an additional cost of Rs 0.41 a litre on petrol and Rs 0.26 per litre on diesel, they said.