Replaceable or not

after several years of discussions the Union ministry of road transport and highways finally notified the amendment to the Central Motor Vehicle rules for use of Liquified Petroleum Gas (lpg) for vehicles on April 24, 2001. The rules now allow lpg to be used as vehicular fuel.

But a controversy already seems to be brewing. Only vehicles with refueling cylinders have been permitted to be run on lpg. Two-wheelers and three-wheelers which run on using the technology of replaceable cylinders have not been permitted to use lpg.

Once lpg is allowed to be used as fuel for vehicles, a number of vehicles waiting in the wings could take the market by storm. Waiting in the wings are tvs Suzuki and the Kinetic scooters, which use replaceable cylinders, Ford's lpg version of Ikon, Daewoo's lpg version of Matiz, and Fiat India with an lpg prototype. Several other smaller companies have mushroomed either to undertake conversions, or manufacturing of various components of the lpg conversion kits such as cylinders. Dessma Engineering, a Hyderabad-based company has got the approval from the chief controller of explosives to manufacture auto- lpg cylinders as per isi standards. The company is also importing lpg conversion kits from Zavoli in Italy. Yet another company called shv Energy South East is working closely with the Andhra Pradesh transport corporation to convert its diesel buses to run on lpg .

The most crucial is the entry of lpg two-wheelers as these promise to be one of the most important combatants of high levels of hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions in Indian cities. According to an estimate of the Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun, two-wheelers use up to 60 per cent of the country's petrol, and emit 65 per cent of total hydrocarbons and about 45 per cent of the total carbon monoxide from vehicular sources in the country. Of even greater concern is the predominance of two-stroke two-wheelers with extremely high levels of unburnt hydrocarbon emissions