Direct progression from Bharat IV to Bharat VI national vehicle emission standards in India

The Indian Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has been considering the possibility of leapfrogging from Bharat Stage (BS) IV emission standards in April 2017 to BS VI emission standards in April 2020. The Parliamentary Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas has endorsed the idea.

The case for expediting progress to Bharat VI standards, which are based on the European Euro 6/VI standards, is supported by five main considerations.

  1. Superior technical design relative to the 5/V emission standards.
  2. Measurement of in-use emissions reveal that Euro VI standards achieve a much greater reduction in NOx emissions from Euro IV/V levels than the emissions limits alone would indicate.
  3. By 2020, the emission control technology needed to meet Euro 6/VI standards will be in its fourth generation, with minimal impact on fuel efficiency.
  4. A scrappage program for heavy commercial vehicles can create economic incentives necessary to alleviate automobile industry concerns about impact on vehicle sales.
  5. Economic benefits of advancing Bharat VI standards far outweigh costs, and fully justify investments made in supplying ultra-low sulfur fuel.

Bharat emission standards are based on the European emission standards. Indian policymaking on vehicles and fuels should exploit lessons learned in the European market. This means acknowledging both the successes of these policies in leading to highly efficient control technology and the failings in intermediate policy stages. Since the adoption of Euro 5/V standards across the EU, several shortcomings of the regulation have been revealed, and these shortcomings have subsequently overcome to a large extent in the Euro 6/VI regulations. Instead of blindly following in European footsteps, policymakers in India should weigh these regulatory improvements, and move directly to BS VI standards instead of including the intermediate stages.