Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on February 6, rolled out petrol blended with 20 percent ethanol across 11 states and union territories in the country. The move comes as part of the government's programme to increase the use of biofuel and lower emissions and cut down on oil imports. Currently, petrol is sold in India with a 10 percent ethanol blend. As per the PTI report, the government has set out to double that amount across the country by 2025.
The 20 percent ethanol blend petrol was launched by the prime minister two months before its intended arrival in April 2023. Since 2014, the ethanol blend has increased from 1.5 percent to the current value. In the first phase, the E-20 petrol will be sold across 84 petrol pumps in 15 cities, it is expected to be supplied across the country by 2025.
As per oil minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, since June 2022, when the E-10 blend was achieved across the country, India has saved up to Rs 53,984 crores in forex that would otherwise be open on oil imports and benefitted sugarcane farmers. India currently relies on imports to meet 85 percent of its oil demand, Puri states that the use of ethanol extracted from sugarcane, rice and other agricultural material can help the country reduce its overseas imports dramatically.
The added use of ethanol will also have a positive impact on the environment, with an estimated reduction of 50 percent in carbon monoxide emissions in two-wheelers and around 30 percent in four-wheelers.
The PTI report further states that India spent USD 120.7 billion on the import of crude oil in 2021-22 fiscal (April 2021 to March 2022) and USD 125 billion have been spent on oil imports in the first nine months of the current fiscal, (April 2022 to December 2022). To meet with larger volume blending, 540 crore litres of ethanol procurement is now being targeted.
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