The Energy Transition Advisory Committee has recommended a ban on the use of diesel-powered 4-wheel vehicles by 2027 in cities with a population over 1 million. The panel, headed by former petroleum secretary Tarun Kapoor and formed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, has instead recommended transition to electric and gas-fuelled vehicles.



  • According to the Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell, diesel currently accounts for about 40% of India’s petroleum products consumption.
  • The panel’s recommendations come in the wake of the government’s stated aim to reduce GHG emission, and to produce 40% of its electricity from renewables as part of its 2070 net zero goal.
  • Since 2020, most carmakers have taken significant steps towards deleveraging their diesel portfolios.
      • Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest passenger vehicle manufacturer, stopped making diesel vehicles from April 1, 2020.
  • Diesel cars accounted for 48% of passenger vehicle sales in the country in 2013 due to the sharply lower price of diesel as compared to petrol.
  • But this changed when the decontrol of fuel prices started in 2014. The price difference has since come down to around Rs 7 per litre (from Rs 25).
  • Consequently, diesel cars accounted for less than 20% of overall passenger vehicle sales in 2021-22.


Why are carmakers moving away from diesel?

  • There are increased emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
  • An external trigger – the Volkswagen emissions scandal, which led to an increase in the negative perception against diesel across markets, including India.
      • In 2015, Volkswagen admitted to having installed emissions-cheating devices in its vehicles to cheat on emissions tests.
  • The rollout of the new BS-VI (directly from BS-IV) emission norms (the reason why Maruti Suzuki announced an exit) from April 1, 2020, involves prohibitively high cost of upgrading diesel engines to meet the new standard.
      • While petrol vehicles needed upgrades for this transition, these were limited to catalysts and electronic control upgrades.


What is the proposal?

  • A ban on diesel-powered four-wheelers in all Million Plus cities and all towns with high pollution has to be enforced in five years, i.e., by 2027.
  • Commercial vehicles may transition to LNG in the short term and no diesel city buses addition be allowed in urban areas.
  • City transport should be a mix of Metro trains and electric buses by 2030 to drive transition towards clean fuel urban public transport.


Issue with the Proposal

  • People still prefer diesel vehicles —
      • The higher fuel economy of diesel engines — This stems from the greater energy content per litre of diesel, and the inherent efficiency of the diesel engine (do not use spark plugs, have higher compression ratios).
      • Offer more torque (rotational or turning force) — Also, they are less likely to stall as they are controlled by a mechanical or electronic governor.
  • How practical it would be to implement the banThis is especially true in the case of medium and heavy commercial vehicles (transport trucks, buses).
      • Around 87% of diesel fuel sales are in the transport segment, with trucks and buses accounting for about 68%.
      • Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Haryana makeup almost 40% of the diesel sold in India.
  • Transition challenges — While it seems easier at the moment to convert diesel trucks to compressed natural gas (CNG), there are certain limitations —
      • CNG being used for shorter distances, and
      • Its lower tonnage carrying capacity.
  • Already compliant with current emission norms Carmakers in the diesel segment and oil marketing companies (reducing the level of sulphur in diesel) claim have invested heavily to transition their diesel fleet from BS-IV to BS-VI emission norms.