New Delhi: Environment minister Jairam Ramesh’s recent comments criticising the growth number of sports utility vehicles (SUV) and larger cars, while drawing support from environmental groups, met with a less warm welcome from other quarters.
On Friday, Ramesh had suggested a policy discouraging the use of such vehicles. Ramesh had mentioned German brands such as BMW and Audi in his comments.
“It is very difficult to imagine that Mr. Jairam Ramesh has made such specific comments on fuel technology with reference to German Automotive Manufacturers,” Germany;s ambassador to India Thomas Matussek said in a note. “The German automotive industry has the most outstanding expertise in the area of engine development and... is far advanced in reducing both fuel consumption and fuel emissions.”
Germany has some of the most sustainable car companies in the world that have pioneered CO2 emission cuts and “have next generation fuel efficiency standards in engines,” he said. “Germany’s success in reducing CO2 emissions contributed widely to a variety of fuel-saving and emissions-reducing measures implemented by the German automotive industry.”
Sales of SUVs and large cars have been rising. On-road surveys carried out by RITES and the Delhi Transport Department show that nearly 30% of the cars on Delhi’s roads are already mid-size and large cars. The transportation sector accounts for 7.5% of India’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) emissions.
“CSE has been campaigning against these fuel-guzzling polluters for many years, and we fully support Mr Ramesh’s views,” said Anumita Roychoudhury, head of the Centre for Science and Environment’s air pollution and urban mobility team.
“While the expanding SUV fleet with large engines undermine the fuel savings in the transport sector, the plume of emissions from India’s diesel cars make the urban air more toxic.”
Audi issued a release on Ramesh’s comments. “Audi cars meet all the emission norms for both diesel and petrol engines in India. We welcome the move towards stricter emission norms in India and are ready to meet these with our highly efficient Euro V-compliant models,” said a company spokesperson.
On fuel efficiency standards in India, which have been stuck since 2007, Ramesh said that the standards are ready and should be notified by the end of this year.
“This will be by the KMPL (kilometre per litre) standard route which will depend on weight of the car, size of the engine etc,” said Ramesh.