October 2018
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Petrol bill may come down by 10% if Cabinet okays Niti Aayog's proposal
(New Delhi, Aug 03, 2018):Niti Aayog is expected to bring a proposal which calls for 15 per cent blending of methanol in petrol to make it cheaper. If the government think-tank’s plan gets the green signal from the Union Cabinet, it will reduce monthly petrol bill by minimum 10 per cent and help the government to significantly trim its oil import bill, reported the Economic Times.

The financial daily report said that the details of the proposal were discussed during a high-level meeting last month. At present, methanol costs less than Rs 20 a litre and a 15 per cent blend could see petrol prices drop by about 10 per cent.

The publication quoted a senior government official as saying that cabinet secretary PK Sinha is personally supervising the progress on this move. The proposed plan envisages a saving of $100 billion annually in crude imports by 2030 if the country moves to 15 per cent methanol mix fuel, both for transportation and cooking, the report highlighted.

“Industry will have to take R&D projects to understand how much changes are needed in the engine as well as material compatibility,” Vishnu Mathur, director general of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), the industry body that represents auto companies, told the ET.

State-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) R&D director Dr SSV Ramakumar told the daily that technically methanol-mix petrol was possible. However, there are two key issues: the stability of the blended petrol, and its compatibility with vehicle engines. The first problem can be solved, but to overcome the second challenge, the oil companies and the auto industry will have to work together to find a viable solution.

Quite a few commentators and media columnists are of the view that the Centre has been aggressively pushing for many alternative fuels such as solar power, biofuels and wind power to secure the country’s long-term energy needs. Besides, in the wake of elevated crude oil price, the methanol-blended could certainly provide relief to the common man against rising retail fuel price. India — the third-largest oil consumer — depends on imports for 80 per cent of its crude oil needs.

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