New Delhi: Environmental advocacy group CSE Wednesday said the just-concluded Auto Expo showed that the car industry is "hard-selling diesel car models to add to the scary trend in toxic pollution exposure and lung cancer risk".
The group, which alleged that the auto industry is taking advantage of distorted fuel pricing policy, said "dieselisation" must be controlled by imposing higher taxes on diesel cars to neutralise the advantage of cheaper diesel fuel.
"A rapid review of the car models on display in the recently concluded Auto Expo in the National Capital Region shows more than half of all new cars on display use diesel and more diesel models in both big and small car segments," CSE said in a statement.
This is in complete disregard of the raging public health concerns around toxic diesel emissions that has led the Supreme Court to crack down on diesel emissions from luxury diesel cars, diesel taxis and trucks and phasing in of environment compensation charge, it added.
CSE said it studied displays by 15 major car makers that represented more than 90 per cent of the car market.
"More than half - as much as 53 per cent of all new car models on display at the Auto Expo are on diesel. Petrol cars are 39 per cent and the rest include hybrids, electric, CNG and LPG cars," it added.
The advocacy group further said: "This is of serious concern as the share of diesel cars in new car sales has already increased significantly from 4 per cent in 2000 to half during this decade."
CSE also said "in total disregard of the concerns expressed by the Supreme Court and the policy-makers over the misuse of low-tax diesel for luxury consumption, a large number of models with 2,000 cc and above - as much as 27 per cent of all cars - were on display. Only 7 per cent of 2000 cc and above were in petrol."
Slamming the displays during the expo, it said: "Auto Expo shows car industry is riding high on diesel and hard-selling diesel car models to add to the scary trend in toxic pollution exposure and lung cancer risk."
It alleged that the car industry is taking advantage of the distorted fuel pricing policy and also the weaker emissions standards to dieselise rapidly.
The same industry has also show-cased cleaner technologies of hybrids, electric and CNG - about 8 per cent of the total cars on display at the Expo, CSE said.
Stating that as there is no clear roadmap to promote clean technology and discourage dirty technology, the group said the mainstream business will continue to ride high on dirty diesel.
It said steps must be taken to "control dieselisation by imposing higher taxes on all diesel cars to neutralise the advantage of cheaper diesel fuel" and prevent "misuse of fiscal policy of keeping taxes on diesel low for farmers by the luxury vehicle segment".
It also called for advancing Euro VI emissions standards before 2020 and until then restrict dieselisation.