New Delhi: In a bid to lower crude oil import bill, the government will promote coal gasification to convert high ash coal into methanol that can be used as cooking gas and transportation fuels, NITI Aayog member V.K. Saraswat said on Tuesday.

He also said that methanol is a good substitute for transportation fuels and cooking fuel and there is merit in India also looking at methanol economy.

“We can reduce high crude oil import bill, which is pegged at Rs6 lakh crore per annum by producing methanol from high ash coal. ...In the rural areas, there are a number of people who still use cow dung, so we want to give methanol stove to them. Methanol gas is always cheap, safe and pollution free," he said. Saraswat said government has proposed using methanol fuels powered boats in inland waterways.