In a recent leading News Paper I happened to read that the automobile companies in India have requested the Government to re-think on putting an extra excise tax on Diesel passenger vehicles, namely SUV‘s and other high to very high-end Cars using diesel. Their argument is its going to affect their economy, and moreover its just a tiny 1.56% of the total diesel driven automobiles!
I confess at the start that I am no Ivy league MBA and can’t crunch statistics like the big corporate boys do. But in my dim-wit brain I need someone to explain me that if the diesel cars construed only 1.5% of the total, why the petition? And I start to think what is this argument of 1.5% ? A trillion can also have 1.5% of it and a million can also have a 1.5% but the formers tiny percent can be the whole of 100% + of the latter! So as someone had said long ago – ‘statistics is the best way to lie and win an argument’ holds true. The brilliant and well meaning automobile manufacturing managers perhaps have the well-being of the poor employees in their mind when they attempt to protect the assembly line from closing down. So I will not hold it against them. But by increasing the demand of passenger cars which would be belching fossil fuel fumes especially more carbon–Di–oxide is causing a disservice to the Nation. (http://www.diffen.com/difference/Diesel_vs_Petrol.)
However, I must advocate for Clean technologies as it is the only way to abate Climate Change. I would also ask the big diesel car advocates to read the Stern Review and the SREX report of IPCC. It is time that corporates and governments but most importantly the Citizens of the country start to understand that we have a very limited time to turn the tide against climate change. For we enter the Orange line for danger from 2017!
Diesel is understood to give more mileage and more efficient that petrol. But in India all may not be using the high-end diesel which is taking care of NOx which is a cause of concern from the pollution angle. Moreover once the public see that the price of fuel is cheaper the demand for diesel cars would shoot up. The price of diesel is cheaper in India because the Government offers a bigger subsidy on it than Petrol. As long as the public keep on demanding for “cheaper fuel” for their very big and costly cars, the automakers can not be put to fault. And as long as the Government of the day continues to buy the corporates argument, the public can not be held responsible. It is a wonder how easily in any argument we create demarcations – Government – Public – Automakers and forget that all are at the end citizens of a responsible Nation which should be at the fore-front to abate climate change.
All nations are facing the problem of balancing between the centuries old “industrial revolution” life-style which hyper-jumped on the back of fossil fuel to device a cleaner and more sustainable life-style without compromising on the creäture comfort we all have grown up with. This can only happen if for once these very best of India, the brilliant Corporate minds along with learned Citizens from various fields come together and devise a solution. Each in his/her personal capacity must break free from the chains of the company’s profit graph and attempt to create a level playing field in which bio-fuel driven or solar-driven or hybrid cars can create a viable alternative to the popular and practical cars of today.
And having done that, they should learn from the real experiences on the city roads of India and devise a plan to create superb SMALL passenger cars! And through their glib marketing and advertisement pamper the ego of the feudal minded ‘upper class’ that small is the new ‘BIG’!
Moreover, the super rich who buy big cars & suv’s with the argument that their large family would travel in comfort when they holiday usually have cars for each individual member or when holidaying they fly to Europe or other exotic destinations, leaving their large cars behind.
Let us see how is the Developed nations fairing in this – the EU’s voluntary agreements with motor manufacturers and the introduction of colour-coded CO2 labels in showrooms, the UK Government has introduced financial measures to favour cars with lower CO2 emissions.
Since March 2001 the annual Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rate for new cars has been determined by their CO2 emission figure and the type of fuel used. This banding is linked to the voluntary colour coded CO2 A – G labelling scheme. Band ‘G’ was recently introduced but only applies to new cars registered on or after 23 March 2006. VED discounts are available for alternatively fuelled cars, e.g. hybrids, gas and biofuels.
Since 2002 company car drivers have been taxed according to their vehicle’s CO2 emissions and fuel type, again with diesel vehicles paying a tax penalty over petrol vehicles with similar CO2 emissions. Tax discounts are available for drivers choosing bio-fuel and hybrid electric vehicles.
On the fuels side, a Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation has been introduced which requires 5% of road fuels to come from a renewable source by 2010. This may be sold as a separate fuel (e.g. ‘E85’) or blended into normal diesel and petrol at low percentages (5% or less).
The European Union has now agreed a mandatory CO2 target for car manufactures. Under this legislation the average emissions of a manufacture’s vehicles sold in Europe will have to be below 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2015.
In my opinion Small cars must rule ! Because –
It is easier to engineer a smaller and lighter vehicle to run at a decent speed through alternate Eco-friendly fuel. And even petrol driven small cars can be more economical mileage wise, so demand for diesel car would reduce.
Almost 60% of the commuters are lone passengers who drive or are driven around on a daily basis so large cars belching diesel fumes are not really required.
Moreover although the diesel cars would be a percentage of the above 60% , a small statistical number but a HUGE difference in the abatement of Co2e. Because that small number of cars need to fill gas, read diesel – which need not be that small in measure.
Lastly, big SUV’s and large passenger cars are not only big in size, they are heavier too. As any one who has plied on roads frequented by heavy vehicles would know – the roads wear out faster !
And what do we lay our roads with – Bitumen! A derivative of the most feared substance in terms of Climate Change – A black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally or as a residue from petroleum distillation!
The articles that started the arguments (http://epaper.dnaindia.com/epapermain.aspx?pgNo=15&edcode=820009&eddate=2012-01-20) ( http://www.outlookindia.com/printarticle.aspx?279625 )
- Londoners ‘shun diesel models’ (autonetinsurance.co.uk)
- Choosing A New Custom Wheels: Gas Efficiency Over Comfort Level (mykidcan.org)
- Diesel VS Hybrid, which is the better choice? (greenpacks.org)
- The Luxury Hybrid Automobile: Future or Fallacy? (luxurysociety.com)