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View Poll Results: Will this Change Improve our Environment and User Awareness?
Yes, it is a positive change in the right direction. 37 78.72%
No, its implementation has too many hurdles to make it effective. 10 21.28%
Voters: 47. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 28th December 2009, 08:41   #1
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Exclamation The Winds of Change:Cars to be rated on Fuel Economy

Looks like the Govt is finally shaking itself from its slumber and doing what should have been done long ago. Today's TOI had this article:
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It's been more than two years in the pipeline but the ministry of power is now ready to rate cars for their fuel efficiency. So in the new year, when you go hunting for a new set of wheels, a star label on the car's windshield could help you decide if you are getting your money's worth.

To begin with, the labelling would be voluntary for manufacturers. But it would still be easy for consumers to make out why some manufacturers won't want their products labelled. In a year's time, labelling will become mandatory under a strict grading system.

The proposed label will not only suggest what mileage the new car could give ideally but also tell the buyer how the car performs when compared to other models in the same category. These categories would be created on the basis of the vehicle's weight.

The best performer would be given 5 stars and the others would get lesser stars depending on their mileage. At the moment, sources in the government suggest not many cars are able to hit the top category.

Even after the PMO pushed the fuel efficiency programme in April 2009, the process had got stuck with the ministry of road transport intervening yet again. The auto industry too continued to raise issues that stalled the launch of the labelling process.

Several rounds with the road transport ministry, headed by Kamal Nath, did not help resolve what had by then become a bitter turf battle.

The two key issues that kept propping up were under what law the regulations should be brought in for setting standards and implementing them and whether the measure should be the mileage per litre of fuel consumed or carbon dioxide emissions.

A road transport ministry committee carried on working in parallel to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and recommended that carbon dioxide-based standards should be used.

The BEE and the power ministry, later backed by the PMO, kept insisting that a simple and consumer friendly measure had to be in kilometres per litre and that it also aided the government's objective of regulating the demand for costly oil imports. With more than 2 million cars being added to Indian roads every year, this had been identified as a key component of demand-side management of oil prices.

But a committee set up by the road transport ministry recommended carbon dioxide-based standards. Later, studies found that the standards suggested were so lax that cars sold in 2017 could have continued to run at worse standards than those prevalent in the country in 2007.

Finally, the power ministry and BEE moved to put the debates behind them writing off the last of their letters to other stakeholders to respond. Not getting any response, the ministry has now decided to launch its programme.

With the standards for rating being improved periodically, the government believes 10-15% of the current car models would either improve or be taken off by 2012, another 30% would get into the 5 star category, 15% would be in four star category and 30% in the 2 star category.

The move by the government would not only benefit the consumer directly but also bring substantial advantage in terms of foreign exchange savings used to import oil. Vehicles on road are expected to rise from 49 million in 2005 to 373 million in 2035. Of these passenger vehicles would comprise about 20%, or 80 million vehicles, in 2035.

The oil demand for transportation, under this projection of the government, would increase from 58 million tonnes to 371 million tonnes by 2035 with overall consumption of oil hitting 486 million tonnes annually. The government expects the greatest reduction in this growth could be made in the passenger and commercial vehicle consumption of oil which this labelling programme is the beginning of.

This is the url of the story:
Finally, cars to be rated on fuel economy - India Business - Biz - The Times of India

Will things change? For the better??
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Old 28th December 2009, 08:52   #2
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Hey Devdath,

You beat me to the posting of this news. I had submitted my post just to find you had done the same minutes ago.

--Vikrant
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Old 28th December 2009, 09:50   #3
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Hi Devdath,
Thanks for posting this. I am sure all those who care for a greener earth would be itching to go after this thread. This certainly is a welcome move from the government. I am very curious to know which automobile companies currently catering to the Indian market are waiting to welcome this move and look as another marketting opportunity, while others might be worried about their gas guzzlers and may go all out gun blazing against this move. Any guesses?

-Jayanth
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Old 28th December 2009, 10:54   #4
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In a nutshell, here's what I think of the move.

Good side - Customers will not have to rely on hearsay (and salesman claims) of ridiculous FE for their cars. The certification will provide them with a reliable, and tangible, way of verifying FE for their prospect cars.

Bad side - Very, very bad news for the enthusiast. All cars, even with a modicum of good performance, will be forced to go out of the market. Manufacturers will not bring in newer performance cars fearing the bad press that the certification will cause them.

Second bad side - Plenty of opportunity for politicos and bureaucrats to make money. False certifications and lobbying will be rampant.
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Old 28th December 2009, 11:25   #5
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Voted for NO.

I am not aware if such standards exists, but if at all there are any, what are standards for such FE testing ?

This will boil down to gearing easily. Laura has lower gearing than Jetta so if the figures are for constant 80 kmph driving, then Jetta wins, but if its in city, then Laura will fair better due to lower gearing that will allow it to hold on higher gear for a bit longer.

This is like two wheeler majors claiming high FE. CT100 giving 100+kmpl. Centra bombed due to this IIRC. The catch was " under 130kg payload the bike was driven at 40kmph " to get the FE. This was standard.

In case of cars, if similar conditions are recreated, then IMO, its a very bad move.

Again, this is India where the essay will be written on cow dung rather than cow ( this is a crude english version of a Hindi phrase ). What about good quality fuel. I read that Indian is not yet ready with ULSD for E-IV. And these norms.

A wrong move just to get appreciation and fame. Work to the core. I think almost all new cars have sufficient tech to deliver good FE. A lot will there after depend on driving style and where the car will be driven. A xylo driven at 80 kmph on highway will deliver more FE than Civic driven in bumper to bumper traffic. But if the rules are implemented like they are in 2 wheeler, then Xylo will end up as a bad car.
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Old 28th December 2009, 11:32   #6
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And what is wrong with the current ARAI tested figure for each car?
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Old 28th December 2009, 11:55   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McLaren Rulez View Post
And what is wrong with the current ARAI tested figure for each car?
ARAI FE figures - as far as I know is optional for a manufacturer to display. If a vehicles FE is good then manufactures market it prominently in there promotions, other wise the will keep mum on this point.
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Old 28th December 2009, 11:56   #8
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I think that a BEE type star rating depending on engine capacity & size of the car is surely a good step in the right direction.

This will force the manufactures to bring in better, cleaner and leaner machines.
Cleaner cars need not be slower & boring. Its upto the manufacturers to give a competitive product with the right mix of FE & performance and upto the customers to choose.

In an oil deficient country like ours FE needs to be given the utmost priority as more than 70% oil is imported. These imports are a terrible drain on our economy.

Hence as consumers of this precious commodity every one should support this cause.

Conserve … Go Green.
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Old 28th December 2009, 11:57   #9
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Yup @aaggoswami i probably agree with you. I would have liked something more in the lines of CO2 emission based.
On a parallel thought, things liked this works wonders for refrigerators of this age, the ones with energy consumption stickers on them - This made sense but the same analogy for cars using fuel as basis for ratings is stupid. It all depends on the drivers and the drive. You just plug a refrigerator into mains and it does whatever it is supposed to do.

A step in the right direction but along the wrong path.
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Old 28th December 2009, 12:00   #10
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Its a step in the right direction ofcourse; but aaggoswami has made a valid point.
For starters; what do you take as a benchmark for fuel efficiency and what does *under standard test conditions mean ? If we institutionalise that and put it as some sort of an SOP; i guess it would make sense.
All said and done its a positive step if implemented with an unbiased attitude; akin to the star ratings on white goods
But it makes me sad too; imagine the same criterions on two wheelers; my enfield and yamaha 350 guzzle oil like crazy.
Lets just hope the people who make these decisions look over and above their narrow parochial concerns and iron out the loop holes to make this utopian concept hazzle free.
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Old 28th December 2009, 12:02   #11
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We Indians are already mileage obsessed country & we (normally)tend to buy vehicles on based on mileage forgetting about various other important features like Safety & built. This is going to add fuel to fire.
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Old 28th December 2009, 12:03   #12
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What is going to be the benefit of such scheme?

Would the excise and other tax rates be based on FE ratings?

How can the government expect car manufacturers to work towards cleaner engines if the current rules of excise and taxation namely, length of car, capacity of engine still remain?
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Old 28th December 2009, 12:10   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tj123 View Post
ARAI FE figures - as far as I know is optional for a manufacturer to display. If a vehicles FE is good then manufactures market it prominently in there promotions, other wise the will keep mum on this point.
Well this star rating is also initially optional. In fact, why not make it compulsory for the ARAI figure to be displayed. Stars are very difficult to deal with. For instance, if you draw a line that says that cars getting 16 kpl and above get five star ratings, then imagine if a car gets 15.9 and therefore four stars. I'd rather see a figure than a rating. And ARAI is an unbiased source.
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Old 28th December 2009, 12:15   #14
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I think they should go a little ahead and change taxes based on the CO2 and FE numbers. Some cars (like the Jap ones) might become cheaper then
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Old 28th December 2009, 12:19   #15
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Yes, it is a positive change in the right direction. Not great news for the enthusiast, but the daily commuter surely gets a better perspective. Also the car salesmen would now think twice before making tall claims.

While CO2 emissions also need to be addressed, I wonder why the green cars are priced so ridiculously if our authorities are so concerned for mother earth. The recent pricing fiasco of the Civic Hybrid (it was launched at 22-23 lacs as against the regular civic's 11-odd lacs then) made it a butt of all jokes. The pricing was reduced subsequently, i think. This is plain silly and should never be the case!
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