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Oil Minister Says India Won’t Totally Ban Gasoline, Diesel Cars

India’s government doesn’t plan to completely ban diesel and gasoline vehicles because continuously rising fuel demand has to be met by a combination of fossil fuels, biofuels, and electric vehicles, Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Tuesday.  

India plans to significantly boost the use of electric vehicles in the coming years. A government policy think thank has recently suggested that banning gasoline and diesel scooters, three-wheelers, and passenger cars by 2030 would save India a lot of expenses on oil imports. India relies on imports to meet 80 percent of its oil demand, but its minister says that gasoline cars won’t be banned totally any time soon.

“EV is a priority but the incremental requirement of fuel will have to be met through a combination of BS-VI grade petrol and diesel, CNG [compressed natural gas] and biofuels alongside EV," Indian news outlet Livemint reported, quoting Pradhan as saying on the sidelines of an industry event.

Even if India doesn’t plan a total ban on fossil fuel-fired vehicles, the government will continue to push for higher EV use, aimed at cutting India’s huge oil import bill, the minister said.

“Is there any government paper that mentions that petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned from a particular date?” Pradhan asked, and added, as carried by Livemint, “India cannot afford to do that.”

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In the fiscal year 2018/2019, India spent US$112 billion on purchasing oil, India’s government policy think-thank Niti Aayog has estimated.

A policy panel at the same organization recommended earlier this year that India ban the sale of two and three-wheelers by 2025. The panel also recommends a ban on non-electric car sales beginning in 2030 and calls for ride-hailing car services such as Uber and Lyft in India to use only EVs from 2030 onwards.

Analysts have long thought that an Indian proposal to ban non-electric cars from 2030 is an unrealistic idea because fuel demand will continue to rise with the growing population and higher incomes. Now India’s oil minister is admitting that the country can’t afford to ban all gasoline and diesel sales from 2030, despite its continued efforts to reduce reliance on oil imports and cut its oil import bill.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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