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Old 21st January 2011, 11:13   #16
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

There is a lot of misinformation that diesel is subsidised. It is not. Actually Government collects a lot of tax on fuel, it is just collecting less on diesel.

The activists should get their facts right. Major diesel consumers are railways followed by truckers, agriculture & power sector, followed by taxi operators. Private vehicle diesel consumers barely constitute 5% if not less in numbers. Though it makes a good copy for agitation, consumption of diesel by private vehicles is minuscule. Coupled with the fact that most private vehicles are more modern, have better engines and run much less than their commercial counterparts, the pollution load of private diesel vehicles can be termed insignificant in comparison to the rest of diesel consumers.
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Old 21st January 2011, 11:15   #17
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
b. First - we need data - Can someone actually post the on-ground data/scientific studies?
+1 to that. Often we start shooting the messenger based on our own half known facts.

Check out this link:
ECO Travel : Petrol vs Diesel

Quote:
Diesel Petrol
(g/km) C1/Aygo 107/Aygo/C1
CO2 109 109
NOx 0.240 0.010
PM 0.011 0
CO 0.180 0.370

Despite using a very clean modern diesel engine, the diesel’s produce 24 times more NOx than the petrol versions and produce particulate matter which the petrol does not. The petrol does however produce twice the amount of carbon monoxide.
Here is another one:

Even more interesting article:
Diesel vs. Gasoline - Is Diesel Performance Superior Overall Compared to Gasoline Power?
Quote:
Because of their lower per-mile fuel consumption, diesel engines generally release less carbon dioxide—the heat-tapping gas primarily responsible for global warming—from the tailpipe. So that's a check on the good side of the pollution chart. But when it comes to smog-forming pollutants and toxic particulate matter, also known as soot, today's diesels are still a lot dirtier than the average gasoline car.
While diesel engines produce less CO2 than petrol engines, they still produce more pollutants (some of them being carcinogenic) that reduce the air quality and are responsible for smog.

Also, the production of diesel itself consumes more oil and causes more pollution than production of petrol.

These are all facts that indicate diesel is overall more polluting than petrol.

Now i'd like to read articles that indicate otherwise. Please provide some links (specially those who are claiming that modern diesel engines pollute less than petrol engines)

Also, not to nitpick but i think Sunita Narain is an environmentalist, not a social activist.

EDIT: by the way, i read somewhere that diesel is cheaper than petrol in many countries in Europe. Is that true??

Last edited by amitoj : 21st January 2011 at 11:16.
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Old 21st January 2011, 11:18   #18
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

She's got her facts wrong and is trying more to grab attention than suggest anything practical/feasible. Completely agreed.

With that out of the way, the issue underneath all the kicking and screaming is real, isn't it? The govt is raising petrol prices with impunity, while leaving diesel alone. Diesel drives the economy, but petrol drives the common man (and yes sir, the guy with the modest car is also a common man, which the govt doesn't seem to believe).

I use a petrol car and I have no qualms paying up the market price. When I feel it's pinching my pocket, I reduce usage, combine short trips or just take the bike out instead (if I'm going to a known heavy-traffic area).

We need a better commercial model for fuel-pricing, and leaving the consumer at the mercy of the fuel companies is NOT IT. I shudder at the thought of what would happen now if international crude hits the rates of 2 years ago.
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Old 21st January 2011, 11:33   #19
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

Chetan

It's not that the Govt. is raising the price of Petrol but that the international prices of petrol and diesel are rising and since petrol prices were decontrolled - not managed by the govt. - six months back the govt. it no longer intervenes when the international prices rise or go low, and the effect is transfered directly to the customer.

Govt. would have loved to also decontrol diesel prices when they did this for petrol, but they were unable to do so for political compulsions and the prices of diesel are fixed by the govt. and when lower than petrol it implies that the difference is paid by the govt.

Yes private car owners using diesel benifit but trust me no govt. would dare decontrol diesel prices when they are at such a high.

For diesel prices too to be decontrolled the demand for diesel has to go down and that can happen only if resessionary trends again emerge globally leading to a drop in demand for fuel.

We do have to pay for what we consume and so if the prices go any higher then yes we would have to pay even more. Yes at a certain point govt. will intervene even for Petrol prices and hold it at a level, and on the other hand also will raise the prices of Deisel a bit if the international prices rise much more.
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Old 21st January 2011, 11:50   #20
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACM View Post
Chetan

It's not that the Govt. is raising the price of Petrol but that the international prices of petrol and diesel are rising and since petrol prices were decontrolled - not managed by the govt. - six months back the govt. it no longer intervenes when the international prices rise or go low, and the effect is transfered directly to the customer.

.....................

.
My bad. I should've said govt is doing nothing to control petrol prices.. Thanks for correction.

I understand the situation, and that's exactly why I dislike all this subsidy/controlled prices stuff. We as a nation have gotten so used to subsidized/controlled prices that paying the market price comes as a rude shock when we're made to do it. It's also unfair on the govt to suddenly pass the buck to the customers after shielding them for years/decades.

The only solution is to start a steady alignment of fuel prices to market rates, instead of holding it as long as possible and then letting go suddenly. People adjust much better to steady increases than sudden exorbitant hikes. But then, I guess that wouldn't sit well with our govt, which puts re-election on top of its priority list. Things will not change as long as votes (or lack of them) drive policy-making.
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Old 21st January 2011, 11:51   #21
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

Any good book on thermodynamics will tell you that the Diesel cycle is more efficient than the Otto cycle.
With the latest diesel engines, the pollution is no longer an issue.
One price for subsidized diesel and another for unsubsidized diesel will not work for obvious reasons.
While most inputs for manufacturing industries are covered by modvat ( you can set off whatever excise you paid on your inputs against excise to be paid on your product), all fuels are specifically excluded. A possible solution might be to allow commercial transporters to set off taxes paid on diesel against excise paid on the vehicles and/or service tax.
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Old 21st January 2011, 11:53   #22
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

Right, so diesel is bad for us, and petrol is barely tolerable. And what about CNG?

Quote:
THE Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has fumbled in answering a critical question on carbonyl and methane emissions from vehicle exhausts: which pollutes less—petrol, diesel, CNG or LPG? ... It declared CNG to be the worst fuel for four-wheeled light and heavy commercial vehicles. But the finding is flawed as it compared factory-fitted petrol and diesel engines with retro-fitted CNG and LPG engines to test the fuel. In retro-fitted vehicles, engine is installed at local workshops.

Source: Suppressed CNG facts | Down To Earth
So Narain smells a rat, and writes:
Quote:
The study which otherwise has generated valuable data on a range of pollutants from different combination of fuels and vehicles – diesel, petrol, CNG, LPG, bio-diesel, ethanol, has become pawn in the hands of diesel business that is out to use this to discredit CNG. The reasons are the missing links, critical omissions, and discrepancies in the study.

From Diesel hides behind CNG | Centre for Science and Environment
If, according to Narain, the government must...
Quote:
...tax diesel vehicles - 100% cent of the price of the vehicle - to remove the existing fiscal distortion in price and policy.
then by the same logic, the least polluting vehicles ought to be given a 90% subsidy and zero import duties. Let us see this happening to electric vehicles like the Reva, or hybrids like the Prius.

Until fossil fuels are banned worldwide, or we have any alternative fuel to power personal transportation (like hydrogen, or even nuclear-powered cars maybe?), let us follow worldwide trends here in India, and accept that diesel vehicles are not really all that bad as they are made out to be by Narain. Diesels are harmful to us, so are petrol and CNG, but what is even more harmful is the pollution caused by adulteration of petrol & diesel, as Narain herself says...

Quote:
...the study has not analysed the fuel properties of the fuels used. The study only mentions specifications of reference fuels which is not adequate. There is no information on actual oxygen or aromatic content of the fuels used for testing. How can it then correlate the changes with the changes in fuel composition?

Source: Diesel hides behind CNG | Centre for Science and Environment
Quote:
...the subsidised Indian diesel does not meet the global clean benchmark. ... In the face of serious public health threat Germany was compelled to introduce 10 ppm diesel fuel and mandate particulate filter in cars.
...
Added to this is the public health cost of not so clean diesel. Very few people in India understand why even after meeting Euro III and Euro IV emissions standards, serious concerns persist regarding the toxic diesel emissions.

From Why clean diesel is a myth in India? | Centre for Science and Environment
So please give us clean diesel, Ms. Narain, not blame our cars!

AFA I am concerned, Sunita Narain can continue to debate with her half-informed campaigns, because she needs these Awards and Recognition | Centre for Science and Environment. If she had her way, she would lock up, and even pull down the Taj Mahal because it is a source of pollution to the Yamuna River through the millions of visitors who flock to see the edifice each year. No bamboo, no tunes on the flute!
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Old 21st January 2011, 12:09   #23
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

While its debatable if Sunita Narain has got the facts right linking Diesel with environment, she does have a point when she says that in this country, poor are subsidizing the rich.

As humorous as it may sound, the way the govt. is managing petrol diesel prices, an M800 driver is paying for the cheap diesel used in 50L+ SUVs (This is not meant to be offending, just a fact!)

Moreover, as many economists say the best way to control prices is to let demand supply work on their own. Cross subsidizations only skew that further and further. The ultimate question being, when does this stop?

The govt. doesn't want to price diesel realistically when the diff. is INR 8, will it ever have the courage to do it when it goes even further? (And it is bound to go up, as crude prices go up).
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Old 21st January 2011, 12:24   #24
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by anupamjain2k View Post
As humorous as it may sound, the way the govt. is managing petrol diesel prices, an M800 driver is paying for the cheap diesel used in 50L+ SUVs (This is not meant to be offending, just a fact!)
+1.
I have mentioned this in some other thread before. Every time I fill up the tank of my Alto/Splendor, I feel frustrated that I am actually subsidizing the fuel of my MD's huge Merc!
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Old 21st January 2011, 12:42   #25
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

Both the links are outdated - the first is from 2007, the second is from 2005. Diesel engines have undergone a sea change in the last 3 - 5 years. To put things in perspective, am posting this from Fiat's UK website where Euro 5 is established:

Social activist speaks out against diesel cars-fiat.png
Source: Fiat.co.uk | Fiat Bravo : Compare the Fiat Bravo Range and Models

As you can see, both the petrol and the diesel offering is EURO 5, and the diesel emits up to 21% lower CO2 than the petrol variant. But what about the other factors - Particulate matter, NOx and CO? I dug around for EURO 5 norms (Wikipedia to rescue):

Name:  Euro 5.png
Views: 5825
Size:  33.2 KB
Source: European emission standards - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It is a whole different matter that we are following 2005 norms in our country (Euro 4), but even then the Diesels do not looks so bad. Most of the modern Diesels running here would be at least a Euro 3. But who is talking about the age old Lorries, Locomotives, Buses and Taxis?

Being a Diesel car owner, I wholly agree to all the Petrol Heads (and pseudo activists like the one we are discussing) demanding the pricing gap be bridged. If you look up my ownership thread, I would have filled Diesel at Shell which is priced ~8 bucks higher than PSU a whole lot of times. I am guilty of exploiting the government's subsidy that is in place to make prices of commercial commodities and travel cheap - but my primary reason to own a Diesel is not the pricing gap, but the kind of performance it gives (no, lets not get into Petrol performance vs. Diesel - I like a modern Diesel, it suits me better!).

But the argument that modern Diesels add to the pollution, like you can see from the data above, is absolutely baseless. Someone has said Delhi's air quality is worsening because of Diesels - I am countering it it with "why not the booming sales in Alto and i10?"!!

And, going by the prices of Shell, it is the government that is taking Diesel fuel lower and Petrol fuel higher (assuming Shell sells both at global prices). Why not equalize the taxing???

At the same price and similar engine configurations, Diesels definitely return higher mileage - factor that in against their pollution numbers, and a modern Diesel pollute WAY LESS than a Petrol engine.
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Old 21st January 2011, 13:45   #26
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by ph03n!x View Post
B

As you can see, both the petrol and the diesel offering is EURO 5, and the diesel emits up to 21% lower CO2 than the petrol variant. But what about the other factors - Particulate matter, NOx and CO? I dug around for EURO 5 norms (Wikipedia to rescue):

Attachment 486582
Source: European emission standards - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
As per the link, if both petrol and diesel cars are rated at Euro 5, diesel still has a higher limit for Nox (0.18 vs 0.06), and PM (0.05 vs 0.005), which means that even at Euro 5, diesel would still pollute more than petrol.

Europe is suffering from high usage of diesel in passenger cars and its evidence you can see in the proposed Euro 6 norms where diesel's PM is capped at 0.0025 (from 0.025 of Euro5) whereas Petrol's PM remains same at 0.005.
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Old 21st January 2011, 13:53   #27
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

In Europe where the emission norms are stringent than America new gen diesel cars are gaining popularity. In fact in UK the diesel costs more than petrol, still the number of diesel cars are increasing. Two reasons I can see
1. The amount of CO2 emission (UK tax is based on this) is less in Diesel compared to same size Petrol Engine
2. Diesel cars provides average 60 MPG compared to 40-50 MPG of Petrol cars.
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Old 21st January 2011, 14:04   #28
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by ph03n!x View Post
As you can see, both the petrol and the diesel offering is EURO 5, and the diesel emits up to 21% lower CO2 than the petrol variant. But what about the other factors - Particulate matter, NOx and CO? I dug around for EURO 5 norms (Wikipedia to rescue):
It has been a long established fact that Diesel produces far less CO (21% in the above case) than comparable petrol engines. But on the other hand it produces produces far greater NOx (4 times as per Sunita Narain?, 5 times as per above chart) which is also a greenhouse gas.

If you look at the two major effects of vehicular pollution

1. Global Warming due to increase in greenhouse gases.

This might be comparable in case of both petrol and diesel. Both produce different proportion of CO and NOx. Which creates greater effect needs to be subject to a serious study.

2. Immediate reduction due to increase in particle matter and other pollutants.

This is what impacts air quality more in the cities. And undoubtedly diesel is the champion here. This is what causes smog and is the major cause of respiratory problems in our cities.

So lets not live in denial. Diesels undoubtedly contribute more towards the reducing air quality in your cities. Whether the contribute more to global warming is open to debate.

The above chart itself shows that EURO 6 is going to be mainly targeting diesel norms and leaves petrol norms nearly untouched.

Last edited by burnt. : 21st January 2011 at 14:07.
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Old 21st January 2011, 14:25   #29
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

Even if people are benefitting from lower diesel prices, why is that a problem? Arent these people Indians too? Or is it that the government funds should be spent only on the lower class or pocketed by the babus? If I contribute to the government coffers, I expect something in return. We aint getting any great shakes in infrastructure/ public transport/ security/ governance/ social security/ pension/ healthcare. Do we get any tax benefits if we have more dependents?
So if I buy 40 litres of diesel a month that is less than 10K a year. It is a fraction of the tax that my family pays. Or is it that the government is penalising us for working hard & earning money by taking money from us and giving it as subsidies to the poor?
I am no economist or environmentalist, but it seems it is ok for the government to allow deforestation, illegal mining, coal fired electricity plants, etc. but it is not ok to subsidise a part of fuel for its common populace? yes, I am a common man too and I have a right to a share in the subsidy pie. If somebody talks about duties here, I would like to confirm that I am discharging all duties expected of a common man.

Last edited by selfdrive : 21st January 2011 at 14:27.
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Old 21st January 2011, 14:28   #30
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Default Re: Social activist speaks out against diesel cars

Honestly, pollution and prices should be two separate debates. How many people really consider the pollution angle when buying a vehicle?

Diesel cars sell because they're perceived as more-bang-for-the buck (even that's debatable unless one's a moderate/heavy user). But the govt needs to think, how long can they really carry the carcass of subsidies? There would be a point when subsidies will become unsustainable. What then? Will they be willing for a potential double-digit correction in one go? More importantly, do they think they can survive such a move without the country descending into anarchy?
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