India is the third-largest oil importer in the world relying on other countries for the supply. In the interest of cutting down the carbon emissions from automobiles, India had made earlier targeted 2030 to mandate the use of E20 or 20% ethanol blend, but this was reduced by 5 years and aimed at 2025. But the recent notification released by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural gas states that from the 1st of April 2023 all oil companies to sell 20% Ethanol blended petrol. 

Why does the Government want to implement E20 by 2023? 

The government has been urging to implement Ethanol fuel and is also keen on seeing flex-fuel engines introduced in India. The union minister for road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari, spoke about this at the 2021 Autocar India Awards, “ I am requesting all carmakers to please cooperate with the Government to bring the flex-fuel engine to our country just like USA, Brazil and Canada”. Flex-fuel engines are those which are capable of running in any ratio of Ethanol blend, from 20% to 100% ethanol. 

The main reason for this move is to reduce CO2 emissions caused by all automobiles. Secondly to reduce the countries oil import bill. This move could also be beneficial to our farmers, mainly those who produce corn and sugarcane. With proper scientific planning and small upgrades to sugar mills, they can improve ethanol production. 

How does E20 affect our present cars? 

The petrol in India is 10% Ethanol blend which started as 5%blend. This level of ethanol doping doesn’t require any modifications to the engine. Present cars that are not designed to run E20 will have some bad effects on the engine, mainly the durability. E20 is highly corrosive, this will accelerate the corrosion of fuel lines and other parts. For the engines to run on E20 we need modifications like adding rubber and plastic wherever necessary. Because the lower energy density of E20 power and efficiency is affected, we need to optimize the engine to improve power and fuel economy which in turns reduces the carbon emissions. 

How does it affect the oil companies? 

The oil companies will not have to worry about the new regulations, they just blend in the necessary ratio, So they don’t have to spend additional money. It has nothing to do with refinery and the blending happens at later stages, so they will not need huge investments.

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