Diesel Vehicles

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    Syllabus: GS3/Environmental Pollution and Degradation

    Context

    • The Union Road Transport Minister said that people need to move away from fuels such as petrol and diesel, and said he might consider proposing an additional 10% GST be imposed on diesel vehicles as ‘pollution tax’.

    About:

    • It is imperative to actively embrace cleaner and greener alternative fuels which should be import substitutes, cost-effective, indigenous, and pollution-free.
    • It is in line with the target to achieve ‘Carbon Net Zero by 2070’.
    Do you know?

    – India is utilising a major portion of fossil fuels in the transport sector which is posing a big economic as well as pollution challenge.
    – Automobiles are currently taxed at 28% GST, with additional cess ranging from 1-22% depending on the type of vehicle.SUVs attract the highest GST at the rate of 28% along with a compensation cess at 22%.
    • According to estimates by the Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell, diesel accounts for about 40% of India’s petroleum products consumption.
      • Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Haryana together account for almost 40% of the diesel sold in India.
    Diesel:
    – Diesel fuel is made from crude petroleum, consisting of small amounts of sulphur, nitrogen, and oxygen.
    – The diesel distillate is heavier than gasoline, kerosene and jet fuel and derived by distillation process of crude oil.

    Diesel Engine:
    – In diesel engines, fuel in liquid state is injected at very high pressure into highly heated and compressed air in the combustion chamber.

    Advantages of Diesel:

    • The higher fuel economy of diesel engines compared to petrol engines. Diesel has greater energy content per litre, as they have higher compression ratios and diesel engines are inherently efficient. This makes diesel the fuel of choice for heavy vehicles.
    • It does not use high-voltage spark ignition (spark plugs).
      • It offers more torque (rotational or turning force), and is less likely to stall as they are controlled by a mechanical or electronic governor, thereby proving to be better for haulage.

    Disadvantages:

    • The higher compression ratio of diesel engines increased the emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), a potential greenhouse gas and pollutant, and production of ground-level ozone which damages crops, trees and other vegetation.
    • Environmental impact as global climate change affects air and water quality, weather patterns, sea levels, ecosystems, and agriculture.
    • Concerns like human health conditions like asthma and respiratory illnesses like heart and lung disease, especially in children and the elderly.

    (Fig: Emissions From Diesel Engine)

    Way Forward:

    • Government aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to produce 40% of India’s electricity from renewables as part of its goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2070, by focusing on the alternative fuels like biofuels, ethanol, green hydrogen, in addition to electric vehicles.

    Source: IE