India should ban the use of diesel-powered four-wheeler vehicles by 2027 and switch to electric and gas-fuelled vehicles in cities with more than a million people and polluted towns in order to cut emissions, an oil ministry panel is recommending.

India, one of the biggest emitters of green house gases, wants to produce 40% of its electricity from renewables to achieve its 2070 net zero goal.

“By 2030, no city buses should be added which are not electric…diesel buses for city transport should not be added from 2024 onwards,” the panel said in a report posted on the oil ministry’s website.

It is not clear if the petroleum ministry will seek cabinet approval to implement the recommendations of its Energy Transition Advisory Committee, headed by former oil secretary Tarun Kapoor.

To boost electric vehicle use in the country, the report said the government should consider “targeted extension” of incentives given under Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles scheme (FAME) to beyond March 31.

Diesel accounts for about two-fifths of refined fuel consumption in India with 80% of that being used in the transport sector.

The panels said new registrations of only electric-powered city delivery vehicles should be allowed from 2024 and suggested for higher use railways and gas-powered trucks for the movement of cargo. The railway network is expected to be fully electric in two to three years.

Long-distance buses in India will have to be powered by electricity in the long-term, it said, adding that gas can be used as a transition fuel for 10-15 years.

India aims to raise the share of gas in its energy mix to 15% by 2030 form 6.2% now.

The panel said India should consider building underground gas storage, equivalent to two months’ demand as demand is expected to rise at compound average growth rate of 9.78% between 2020 and 2050. It suggested the use of depleted oil and gas fields, salt caverns and aquifers for building gas storage with the participation of foreign gas-producing companies.

Source : Reuters