Cars have a great impact on the environment and climate change due to the greenhouse gases they emit. Until the time when manufacturers come up with feasible and sustainable hybrid options, cars will continue to use petrol and diesel to run. Individual automobile manufacturers try to innovate and use new technologies to make the diesel and petrol engines more fuel efficient. However, there is no standard measure for how environment friendly a car is in India.
The government has decided to step in and create a star rating system for environment friendly cars. This move will bring about strict fuel efficiency norms for cars operating in India. Moving forward, cars will come with a label of stars exhibiting their fuel and energy efficiency just as other appliances such as refrigerators, air-conditioners, ceiling fans, television sets to name a few, do. This will help the buyer know and gauge how environment friendly a car is.
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has provided automobile manufacturers with two options for the rating process. The manufacturers can use either brand or weight and engine capacity of the vehicle for the rating. To explain it further, if a manufacturer chooses to rate according to the brand, it would mean different ratings for different brands of cars. However, if the manufacturer chooses to go by weight, it would mean the same rating for all cars of the same weight and engine capacity of the manufacturer irrespective of the brand name.
The star rating system holds serious consequences for Sports Utility Vehicles or SUVs which consume a great deal of fuel. According to BEE, all vehicles would come under the rating scheme in a certain timeframe as soon as the rating system norms are finalised. Automobile manufacturers are against the star rating system and have cited their concerns. One of the main arguments is the price of the vehicles would go up due to the upgrading of technology required.
The Ministry of Road and Surface Transport has proposed a third option for the method of rating for environment friendliness. The proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) would mean the entire range of vehicles of an automobile manufacturer is taken into account when determining the environment friendly star rating. On the upside, it simplifies the entire process. On the downside, this means that a firm would be able to pass on a more polluting vehicle without a problem if it also owns a highly fuel-efficient brand.
Industry sources reveal that BEE and Ministry of Road and Surface Transport have come to a decision regarding the star rating system and will be announcing it soon. According to BEE, the labeling would be applicable to automobiles, including SUVs, and other four wheelers to start with and later on, would extend to trucks and two wheelers. All such vehicles will need to comply with the ratings – failing this, they will not be allowed to be sold in the Indian market.
From the consumer’s point of view, the environment friendly star rating is a welcome move that will enable the buyer to make a better and more informed decision when purchasing a vehicle.