Amidst the rise in the prices of petroleum, the Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari opines seeking alternative fuel sources could be the way forward. Speaking at the Indian International Science Festival, Mr Gadkari stressed the need for making use of methanol, biofuel, and ethanol to substitute the import of petrol that is becoming increasingly expensive.
The rising cost of importing petrol is attributed to the US sanctions against oil imports from Iran. Given Iran is the third biggest exporter of oil to India and a prominent member of the OPEC, this development has drastically impacted Iran’s supply equation with India. The depreciation of the Rupee against the Dollar has further added to the woes. While there is a global rise in the price of crude oil, amongst its neighbouring countries, India is clearly the worst hit. In fact, the price of petrol is higher in India than it is in Nepal, China, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. In some Indian cities, the cost of petrol has crossed INR 90 while in Pakistan the rates stand at Rs 65.2 per litre.
The Union and Road Transport Minister further stated that there have already been successful experiments with alternative fuels, under the supervision of the Ministry of Science and Technology. According to him, this is a big step towards achieving economic and eco-friendly alternative fuels. Citing Indian forest areas as a rich source for natural products that can facilitate the preparation of alternative fuels like ethanol, Mr Gadkari hopes to get the support of the Government in this matter. The Minister added that a policy document had been put in place by the Union Government to purchase such natural resources from the tribals in India.