The Indian Government will rate fuel economy of cars from 2010.
The notion of tagging fuel efficiency of cars has been in the pipeline for more than two years, but the Ministry of Power is now ready to rate cars for their fuel efficiency. Moreover, a car will come with a star label on the windshield which will indicate its performance compared to other models of the same segment.
Now, labelling a car is voluntary for manufacturers. But, in the coming year, labelling will become mandatory under a strict grading system.
The proposed label will not only suggest the new car's ideal mileage but also tell the buyers how the car performs compared to other models in the same category. The categories would be created on the basis of the car's weight. The best performer would be given 5 stars and the others would get fewer stars depending on their mileage.
Even after the PMO pushed the fuel efficiency programme in April 2009, the process had got stuck with the Road Transport Ministry intervening. Besides, the auto industry too raised issues that stalled the labelling process.
The proposal to label cars with star according to their fuel efficiency had raised too many questions among the auto manufacturers. The two key issues that kept propping up were under what law the regulations should be brought in for setting standards and implementing them and whether the measure should be the mileage per litre of fuel consumed or carbon dioxide emissions. A road transport ministry committee carried on working in parallel to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and recommended that carbon dioxide-based standards should be used.
The BEE and the power ministry, later backed by the PMO, kept insisting that a simple and consumer friendly measure had to be in kilometres per litre and that it also aided the government's objective of regulating the demand for costly oil imports. But a committee set up by the road transport ministry recommended carbon dioxide-based standards. Later, studies found that the standards suggested were so lax that cars sold in 2017 could have continued to run at worse standards than those prevalent in the country in 2007.
Finally, the power ministry and BEE moved to put the debates behind them writing off the last of their letters to other stakeholders to respond. Not getting any response, the ministry has now decided to launch its programme.