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11.01.2018
India
Sector: LPG

200 thousand cars, no stations at all

Autogas is growing stron in India, but not so much so in Kashmir Valley. There are 200 thousand cars converted to run on autogas in the region, but not a single authorised station to refill them at. And yet, they still use the fuel. Keep reading!
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An LPG-powered Maruti Suzuki in Kashmir Valley, India© downtoearth.org.inValleys are particularly prone to smog formation, so using LPG as motor fuel in Kashmir is more than just a way to save money

200 thousand to 0

It was announced in 2012 that LPG retail outlets would be opened to provide fuel to motorists willing to have their cars converted. Many took the opportunity and now, five years later, there are 200 thousand vehicles on the road powered with autogas rather than petrol. The motivation is the same as usual – it's cheaper this way, but also less harmful to the environment. The problem is, though, not even one station has been built to date.

Illegal savings

The reason? Pollution levels didn't rise as projected and using LPG as a remedy to low air quality is not a motivation anymore. Motorists have two options to keep using their autogas-powered cars then: drive to Jammu, where there are two stations in operation, or resort to illegal refueling just to keep their cars going and recoup the money spent on conversions. Since it's more convenient, they opt for the latter variant, using cooking cylinders as the source of fuel. That's hazardous, of course, but people will go to great lengths just to keep their costs down. Distrurbingly, new autogas-powered cars are still registered, even though officials realise there are no stations.

Air too clean to use clean fuel

It seems that as long as air over Kashmir Valley is clean, nothing will change. Paradoxically enough, it's clean in part thanks to the LPG-powered cars, even though they have nowhere to refuel. The Jammu & Kashmir High Court asked the Indian Oil Corporation why there's been a delay and the response is that the company is awaiting an NOC (no-objection certificate) from the local authorities. And since pollution levels have exceeded the limits in Srinagar, it is finally possible to go ahead and start building fuel outlets in the area. A breakthrough? Could just be.

Cars are to blame

According to the SPCB (state pollution control board), there's been a steady rising trend as far as air pollution in Kashmir Valley is concerned and vehicles are perceived as the primary culprit. With easily – and officially! – available LPG, it should be easier to address the issue with more conversions. Let's just hope the stations don't get shut down as soon as air quality improves...



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Robert Markowski
source: downtoearth.org.in



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