We are all aware of the fact that fuel prices in India are skyrocketing. In most Indian cities, the cost of petrol is close to triple digits, and some towns have even crossed that mark. People over the country are not satisfied and are complaining about this price increase. Additionally, many vehicles are being fitted with aftermarket CNG kits as an alternative option. Things are not different for diesel either. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has freshly declared that they will soon be deciding on flex-fuel engines.
What is a Flex fuel engine?
A Flex fuel engine is an internal combustion engine that can run on more than one fuel or a mixture of multiple energies. Typically, a Flex fuel engine uses a blend of petrol, methanol, or Ethanol. The machine is designed in a way that it can automatically adjust with any percentage of the combination. The fuel composition sensor and ECU programming have been modified for this purpose. The government will be making decisions regarding the flex-fuel engines in the next 8-10 days.
Flex-fuel engines are constructed in a way that they can run on 100 percent petrol or 100 percent ethanol. This is not a new idea and is already ready in Brazil, The United States of America, and Canada. Even in India, we get ethanol-blended petrol. It started as a five percentage blend and currently stands at 10 percent.
Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari, while addressing the Rotary District Conference 2020-21, virtually said, I am transport minister, I will issue an order to the industry, that only flex-fuel engines will be available and that people will be able to choose whether to use crude oil or ethanol.” He also added, “I am going to decide within 8-10 days, and we will make it (flex-fuel engine) mandatory for the automobile industry.”
Ethanol is typically made from fermented crops such as corn and sugarcane, so if the Ministry makes Flex-fuel engines mandatory, it will also benefit the farming industry. Gadkari also added, “It is going to encourage the Indian economy because we are a corn excess, we are a sugar surplus, and a wheat surplus country. We don’t have enough space to store all these foodgrains.”
Another benefit of using Ethanol is the price. Many cities in India have crossed Rs 100 per liter mark for petrol while ethanol costs around Rs 60-62 per liter. This would help people save almost Rs 30-Rs 35 per liter of fuel. Another benefit of using Ethanol is for the environment. In comparison to petrol-powered cars, a flex-fuel engine vehicle will generate lower emissions. This is important as pollution in the country is increasing every year.
The government has been planning to introduce flex-fuel engines and Ethanol in the country for quite some time. While speaking at the 2021 Autocar India Awards, Minister Nitin Gadkari requested the automobile industry to cooperate with the government in bringing flex-fuel engines in India.