Oil and Gas Sector – HELP, Open Acreage Policy, etc.

Ethanol blend in petrol to be raised to 20% in 3 years


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Ethanol blended petrol (EBP) Program

Mains level: India's quest for clean mobility

The Union Cabinet has approved amendments to the National Policy on Biofuels, 2018, to advance the date by which fuel companies have to increase the percentage of ethanol in petrol to 20%, from 2030 to 2025.

What is the news?

  • The policy to introduce 20% ethanol in petrol will take effect from April 1, 2023.

Why such move?

  • A 2021 report by the NITI Aayog said that 20% ethanol blending by 2025 could accrue immense benefits such as:
  1. Saving ₹30,000 crore of foreign exchange per year
  2. Increased energy security
  3. Lowered carbon emissions
  4. Better air quality
  5. Self-reliance
  6. Better use of damaged foodgrains
  7. Increase farmers’ incomes and investment opportunities

What is the present status of ethanol blending in India?

  • India achieved 9.45% ethanol blending as on March 13, 2022, according to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • The Centre projects that this will reach 10% by the end of financial year 2022.
  • The government first announced its plans of advancing the 20% blending target in December 2020.

Why is it so difficult to raise the blending?

  • A 10% blending of petrol does not require major changes to engines.
  • But a 20% blend could require some changes and may even drive up the prices of vehicles.
  • A greater percentage of blending could also mean more land being diverted for water-intensive crops such as sugar cane, which the government currently subsidises.

Back2Basics: Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme

  • EBP programme was launched in January, 2003 for supply of 5% ethanol blended petrol.
  • The programme sought to promote the use of alternative and environment-friendly fuels and to reduce import dependency for energy requirements.
  • OMCs are advised to continue according to priority of ethanol from 1) sugarcane juice/sugar/sugar syrup, 2) B-heavy molasses 3) C-heavy molasses and 4) damaged food grains/other sources.
  • At present, this programme has been extended to the whole of India except UTs of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands with effect from 01st April 2019 wherein OMCs sell petrol blended with ethanol up to 10%.

Also read:

[RSTV ARCHIVE] Ethanol Blending: Significance & Road Ahead

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